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Unified Agenda 2132-AB02

Major Capital Investment Projects (RRR)


This rulemaking would make changes to the regulations that govern the New Starts discretionary funding program authorized by 49 U.S.C. 5309. FTA´s initial rulemaking on this subject (RIN 2132-AA81), initiated to meet the statutory deadline, was terminated as the result of subsequent congressional action prohibiting FTA from issuing a rule.

Statement of need

Section 3011 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) made a number of changes to 49 U.S.C. 5309, which authorizes the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) fixed guideway capital investment grant program known as "New Starts." SAFETEA-LU also created a new category of major capital investments that have a total project cost of less than $250 million, and that are seeking less than $75 million in section 5309 major capital investment funds. This rulemaking proposes to implement those changes and a number of other changes that FTA believes will improve the process for evaluating major capital investment projects.

Legal Basis

Section 5309, title 49 of the United States Code, requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations for the evaluation and selection of major capital investment projects that have a total project cost of less than $250 million, and that are seeking less than $75 million in section 5309 major capital investment funds.


This rulemaking is mandated by section 3011 of SAFETEA-LU, so there is not an alternative to pursuing rulemaking. Within the rulemaking process, FTA has already issued and has received comments on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will inform the various options FTA might pursue in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Costs and Benefits

The single largest change in the New Starts program is the creation in SAFETEA-LU of the "Small Starts" program. Over the first 10 years of the Small Starts program, the cumulative impact of transfer from New Starts to Small Starts will likely be $1.9 Billion, with a Net Present Value of $1.311 Billion using a discount rate of 7 percent. This effect is difficult to characterize in terms of cost or benefit, as it simply represents a "transfer of a transfer" from one governmental entity to another.


The proposed rulemaking provides a framework for a discretionary grant program; it does not propose to regulate other than for applicants for Federal funds. As such, the rulemaking poses no risks for the regulated community, other than for the risks inherent in pursuing Federal funds that might not be awarded if a project fails to satisfy the eligibility and evaluation criteria in the proposed regulatory structure.


3 actions from June 3rd, 2010 to January 2012

  • June 3rd, 2010
  • August 2nd, 2010
    • ANPRM Comment Period End
  • January 2012
    • NPRM


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