[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 6 (Wednesday, January 9, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 2038]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31539]

Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 6 / Wednesday, January 9, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 2038]]



Federal Transit Administration

49 CFR Part 611

[Docket No. FTA-2010-0009]

Notice of Availability of Proposed New Starts and Small Starts 
Policy Guidance

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed policy guidance; request for 


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is announcing the 
availability of proposed policy guidance to sponsors of New Starts and 
Small Starts projects, and inviting comment on this proposed guidance, 
which has been placed both in the docket and on the agency's web site. 
This proposed policy guidance will accompany the final rule for Major 
Capital Investment Projects published elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register. Specifically, this proposed policy guidance describes 
the particular measures FTA intends to apply in evaluating projects 
seeking New Starts and Small Starts funding and the way these measures 
would be used in project ratings, if adopted. The final rule 
establishes the framework for the New Starts and Small Starts 
evaluation and rating process; this proposed policy guidance 
complements the final rule by providing a deeper level of detail about 
the methods for calculating the project justification and local 
financial commitment criteria required for New Starts and Small Starts 

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 11, 2013. Any 
comments received beyond this deadline will be considered to the extent 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to DOT docket number FTA-2010-0009 
by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    U.S. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit 
Administration) and docket number (FTA-2010-0009) for this notice at 
the beginning of your comments. You must submit two copies of your 
comments if you submit them by mail. If you wish to receive 
confirmation FTA received your comments, you must include a self-
addressed, stamped postcard. Due to security procedures in effect since 
October 2001, mail received through the U.S. Postal Service may be 
subject to delays. Parties submitting comments may wish to consider 
using an express mail firm to ensure prompt filing of any submissions 
not filed electronically or by hand.
    All comments received will be posted, without change and including 
any personal information provided, to http://www.regulations.gov, where 
they will be available to internet users. You may review DOT's complete 
Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 
2000, at 65 FR 19477. For access to the docket to read background 
documents and comments received, go to http://regulations.gov at any 
time or to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Docket Management Facility, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program matters, Elizabeth Day, 
FTA Office of Planning and Environment, telephone (202) 366-5159 or 
Elizabeth.Day@dot.gov. For legal matters, Scott Biehl, FTA Office of 
Chief Counsel, telephone (202) 366-0826 or Scott.Biehl@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5309(g)(5), FTA is 
obliged to publish policy guidance on the review and evaluation process 
and criteria for major capital investment projects each time the agency 
makes significant changes to the process and criteria, and in any 
event, at least once every two years. Also, FTA is obliged to invite 
public comment on the guidance, and to publish its response to 
comments. In this instance, FTA is proposing policy guidance for the 
New Starts and Small Starts process and criteria consistent with the 
regulation at 49 CFR part 611 published elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register, which will take effect on April 9, 2013. FTA asks 
that comments on the proposed policy guidance be submitted within 60 
days of today's notice, so that FTA may respond to comments and make 
any revisions to the guidance to coincide with the effective date of 
the regulation.
    The proposed policy guidance is available in its entirety on FTA's 
public Web site at http://www.fta.dot.gov, and in the docket at http://www.regulatons.gov. It is approximately 30 typewritten pages in length. 
The proposed policy guidance addresses, in detail, measures and methods 
for calculating both the local financial commitment criteria for a New 
Starts or Small Starts project, and the project justification criteria. 
The proposed policy guidance sets forth breakpoints for determining 
whether a project rates ``high,'' ``medium-high,'' ``medium,'' 
``medium-low,'' or ``low'' against the various criteria for both 
project justification and local financial commitment. Also, the 
proposed policy guidance addresses the use of time horizons for 
calculating various measures and the weighting of the criteria and 
measures to arrive at an overall project rating.
    The rulemaking that led to the issuance of the new regulation at 49 
CFR part 611 began in June 2009, well before the enactment of the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (``MAP-21'') in July 
2012, which has reauthorized the Federal transit programs at 49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 53 and made a number of significant changes, in particular, to 
the discretionary capital investment program authorized at 49 U.S.C. 
5309. Both the new regulation and the proposed policy guidance pertain 
only to the evaluation and rating of New Starts and Small Starts 
projects under Section 5309; they do not pertain to the new Core 
Capacity Improvement program established by MAP-21, nor the evaluation 
of Programs of Interrelated Projects, the pilot program for expedited 
project delivery, or the process for expedited review of project 
sponsors' technical capacity. Nor does the new regulation or the 
proposed policy guidance address the procedural changes made to the 
steps in the process, such as the elimination of the requirement for 
Alternatives Analysis, the newly defined project development phase, and 
the newly defined engineering phase, which were enacted by MAP-21. 
Those subjects will be addressed through future rulemakings and policy 

    Issued on: December 27, 2012.
Peter Rogoff,
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-31539 Filed 1-3-13; 11:15 am]