WASHINGTON — President Bush has recommended a $1.62 billion funding package for Fiscal Year 2009 that includes new projects in nine cities across the nation. This New Starts amount is part of a total public transportation budget proposal of $10.1 billion, a 6.8 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2008.
“Well planned, cost-effective transit is crucial to relieving congestion, protecting the environment and reducing dependence on foreign oil,” said Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.
The budget proposes $200 million in funding for nine new projects in the “Small Starts” program, and four existing small starts projects. The spending plan also recommends $160 million for two larger construction projects.
Also, $1.14 billion is proposed for 15 other projects that have active long-term commitments for federal funding and are already under construction.
“We are particularly enthusiastic about the projects that we have recommended for funding this year,” said FTA Administrator James S. Simpson. “When you consider the projects we have recommended for funding on a cost-per-mile basis, we are putting tax dollars where they will move the greatest number of people so taxpayers get a good return on their investment.”
The ratings and recommendations are part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for New and Small Starts for Fiscal Year 2009.
The President’s budget sets aside a total of $200 million to be available for Small Starts projects for capital costs associated with new fixed guideway systems, extensions, and bus corridor improvements. Requests must be for under $75 million in Small Starts funds and total project costs must be under $250 million.
The following Small Starts projects are being recommended for the first time in the proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget:
FY 2009 ANNUAL REPORT ON FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS HIGHLIGHTS
NEWLY PROPOSED SMALL STARTS PROJECTS
Fitchburg, MA – Commuter Rail Improvements – $30 million in FY 2009 (Medium High Rating, Project Development Phase)
The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) of the Fitchburg/Leominster, Mass., metropolitan area, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), has proposed to modernize an existing commuter rail line to provide improved service and reliability for riders at 18 urban and suburban stations over a 49.5-mile corridor extending from Fitchburg to Boston’s North Station.
With a federal Small Starts share of $75 million, the $150 million project, which includes 8.5 miles of double tracking and track upgrading, will provide a more attractive, more reliable, and faster travel alternative. It is expected to carry 10,800 daily riders when it opens in 2012.
Portland, Ore., – Streetcar Loop – $50 million in FY 2009
This proposed 3.3-mile extension to the existing “Westside” streetcar line would result in a new streetcar line originating at the existing station at 10th Street and Lovejoy in the Pearl District northwest of downtown Portland.
The line would run east across the Willamette River to the City’s Lloyd District, and then south along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue, terminating near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
With a federal Small Starts share of $75 million, this $126.9 million project includes 18 new stations and significant capital improvements to the Broadway Bridge to accommodate streetcar operations. It is expected to carry 8,700 daily riders when it opens in 2011.
Riverside, CA – Perris Valley Line – $50 million in FY 2009 (Medium-High Rating, Project Development Phase)
The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), in conjunction with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, is proposing to construct a 22.7-mile extension to the Metrolink regional commuter rail system.
The Perris Valley Line project would result in an extension of the existing Route 91 commuter rail line between Los Angeles and downtown Riverside serving the communities of Allessandro, Moreno Valley, and Perris, terminating at South Perris.
With a $75 million federal Small Starts share, the $168.25 million project includes seven new stations and park-and-ride lots to accommodate 1,430 vehicles, as well as the acquisition of three bi-level coaches.
The proposed project is expected to carry 3,400 daily riders in the anticipated opening year of 2011.
PENDING FULL FUNDING GRANT AGREEMENTS
The following projects are expected to be ready for a Full Funding Grant Agreement under the New Starts Program prior to or during FY 2009:
Denver, Colo. – West Corridor Light Rail – $60 million in FY 2009 (Medium-High Rating, Final Design Phase)
This 12-station light rail extension begins at the existing Auraria Station in downtown Denver and extends 12.1 miles west, parallel to West 6th Avenue, which carries the second highest traffic volume in the region.
The West Corridor will serve Lakewood and other Westside activity centers, and will provide connections to the Denver Tech Center, the second largest employment center in the Denver metropolitan area. It will also facilitate development opportunities along the corridor. It will carry 29,700 average weekly riders, including 6,200 new daily riders, by 2030. The project will cost a total of $656.83 million, with a federal New Starts share of $290.55 million.
Seattle – University Link – $100 million in FY 2009 (High Rating, Final Design Phase)
Sound Transit is proposing to implement an extension of the Central Link light rail transit Initial Segment currently under construction from the segment’s northern terminus at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle to the University of Washington, 3.1 miles to the northeast.
The University Link corridor is the most densely developed residential and employment area in the Central Puget Sound region and the state of Washington. The extension will serve more than 40,200 weekday riders by 2030.
The project is estimated to cost $1.80 billion, with a federal New Starts share of $750 million.
EXISTING FULL FUNDING GRANT AGREEMENTS
FTA is recommending continued investment for 15 New Starts Projects:
Chicago – Ravenswood Line Extension – $30.47 million in FY 2009
The Chicago Transit Authority is reconstructing platforms and stations on the existing Ravenswood (Brown) Line to accommodate eight-car trains, along with other related capital improvements.
The Brown Line extends approximately 9.1 miles from the Kimball Terminal on the north side of Chicago through the “Loop Elevated” in downtown Chicago, and includes 19 stations. The total project cost is $529.91 million, with a federal New Starts share of $245.52 million. It is expected to carry 68,000 daily riders by 2020.
Dallas – Northwest/Southeast Light Rail – $87.97 million in FY 2009
This 21-mile extension will provide fixed guideway transit service in heavily traveled transportation corridors.
From Dallas’ central business district, the line will extend northwest 10.9 miles along I-45 to the city of Farmer’s Branch, and southeast 10.1 miles to Buckner Boulevard.
The project will provide an alternative to congested highway facilities, increase transit capacity, improve connectivity to regional activity centers, and provide economic development opportunities.
The line will carry nearly 45,900 weekday riders by 2025. The project will cost a total of $1.4 billion, with a federal New Starts share of $700 million.
Denver – Southeast Corridor Light Rail – $1.03 million in FY 2009
The Denver Regional Transportation District and the Colorado Department of Transportation are constructing the Southeast Corridor Light Rail project, dubbed T-REX.
T-REX is a 19.1-mile double-track light rail transit extension to the existing system, which follows I-25 from Broadway in Denver to Douglas County, with a spur along I-225.
The total project cost is $879.27 million, with a federal New Starts share of $525 million. It is expected to carry 38,100 daily riders by 2020.
Los Angeles – Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension – $74.60 million in FY 2009
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is constructing a 5.9-mile light rail line in the Eastside Corridor, connecting downtown Los Angeles with East Los Angeles.
With a federal New Starts share of $490.7 million, the $898.8 million project is expected to carry 23,000 daily riders by the year 2020.
Minneapolis-Big Lake, MN – Northstar Corridor Rail – $71.17 million in FY 2009
The 40.5-mile commuter rail line will connect the Minneapolis central business district with the town of Big Lake.
The project is considered the first phase of a larger proposal to construct an 82-mile commuter rail line from Minneapolis to Rice, Minnesota. The Northstar Corridor is one of the fastest growing areas in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
It includes the fully developed urban core and several rapidly growing suburban areas. Major highway routes into the central business district are at capacity during peak periods for commuters from the north and northwest. With a federal New Starts share of $156.8 million, the project is estimated to cost $317.4 million, and is expected to serve 5,900 riders each day by 2030.
New Jersey – Hudson-Bergen (Second Segment) – $1.10 million in FY 2009
The New Jersey Transit Corporation was constructed an extension to the Hudson-Bergen Waterfront Light Rail Transit System.
The project includes a 5.1-mile, six station extension from Hoboken Terminal to the Tonnelle Avenue park and ride lot in North Bergen and a one-mile, one-station extension south from 34th Street to 22nd Street in Bayonne.
The total project cost is $1.21 billion, with a federal New Starts share of $500 million. It is expected to carry 34,900 daily riders by 2010.
New York – Long Island Rail Road East Side Access – $219.30 million in FY 2009
The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road are constructing a commuter rail project that will link LIRR passengers to a new passenger concourse in Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan’s east side.
The 3.5-mile East Side Access (ESA) project, using an existing rail tunnel under the East River, will increase LIRR tunnel capacity across the East River and significantly relieve over-crowded conditions throughout the LIRR network. The project will provide direct access to the east side of Manhattan for users of the LIRR, who must currently transfer to other transit lines or walk to get to the east side from Penn Station.
The ESA project will serve a portion of the strongest transit market in the country. By reducing travel time to Manhattan’s east side and relieving overcrowding conditions on existing LIRR service to Penn Station, the East Side Access Project will carry more than 171,900 weekday riders, including 27,300 new daily riders by 2030.
The project will cost a total of $7.39 billion, with a federal New Starts share of $2.63 billion.
New York – Second Avenue Subway – $277.70 million in FY 2009
This 2.3-mile project on Manhattan’s east side will provide extended subway service from 96th Street to 63rd Street, connecting with the existing Broadway Line at 63rd Street Station.
The project will relieve overcrowded conditions and improve service reliability on the Lexington Avenue Line, the busiest transit line in America and the only full north-south passenger rail line serving Manhattan’s eastside. It will improve current mobility and meet future demand for commuters throughout the New York City metropolitan area.
This segment is Phase I of an 8.5-mile subway line extending the length of Manhattan’s east side from 125th Street in East Harlem to Hanover Square in the financial district. With a federal New Starts share of $1.3 billion, the $4.86 billion project is expected to serve 213,000 riders each day by 2030.
Norfolk, Va. – Norfolk Light Rail– $57.06 million in FY 2009
Hampton Roads Transit is constructing a 7.4-mile light rail transit line within the city of Norfolk that is intended to serve as the initial segment of a regional rapid transit system.
The project is expected to serve 7,100 riders each day by 2030. The project is estimated to cost $232.1 million, with a federal New Starts share of $127.98 million.
Phoenix, Ariz. – Central Phoenix East Valley Light Rail – $91.80 million in FY 2009
The Central Phoenix East Valley Light Rail project is a 19.6-mile light rail system running from the Spectrum Mall area in Phoenix, through the downtown areas of Phoenix and Tempe, to Mesa.
The project, overseen by Valley Metro Rail, will provide access to major employment centers including the Phoenix and Tempe central business districts, Sky Harbor Airport, and Arizona State University (ASU); and large special event venues including Civic Plaza Convention Center, Bank One Ballpark, America West Arena, and ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium.
With a federal New Starts share of $587 million, the $1.4 billion project is expected to carry 49,900 riders a day by the year 2020.
Pittsburgh – Northshore LRT Connector — $670,885 in FY 2009
This project sponsored by the Port Authority of Allegheny County is a 1.2-mile extension of the region’s 25-mile light rail transit system, which will connect downtown Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle area to the city’s North Shore area.
The project is expected to cost $435 million, with a federal New Starts share of $235.7 million. It will carry 14,300 weekday riders, including 4,100 new daily riders, by 2025.
Portland, Ore. – South Corridor I-205/Portland Mall LRT – $81.60 million in FY 2009
The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation district (TriMet) and Portland Metro are constructing 8.3-miles of new light rail transit (LRT) consisting of two segments connecting to the existing “MAX” LRT system along Interstate 84 to create a new “Green Line” from Clackamas Town Center to Portland State University (PSU).
The Interstate-205 (I-205) portion of the project will extend from Gateway Transit Center to a new rail transit center at the Clackamas Town Center. The Portland Mall portion will extend from Union Station to PSU along the North-South Transit Mall. The project includes eight bi-directional stations for the I-205 portion and 14 unidirectional stations along the downtown Portland Mall portion, with seven on each leg of the one-way loop. TriMet will buy 24 light rail vehicles to operate the project.
With a federal New Starts share of $345.4 million, this $575.7 million project will carry 46,500 daily riders by the year 2025.
Seattle – Central Link (Initial Segment) – $28.85 million in FY 2009
The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) is constructing a 13.9 mile light rail line that will run from Convention Place through downtown Seattle to South 154th Street in the city of Tukwila. The total project cost is $2.44 billion, with a federal New Starts share of $500 million. It is expected to carry 42,500 daily riders in 2020.
Washington, D.C. – Largo Metrorail Extension – $34.70 million in FY 2009
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorizes the inclusion of an additional 52 rapid rail cars in the Largo Metrorail Extension.
FTA included proposed funding for the cars in this section even though the original Full Funding Grant Agreement has been completed and revenue service has begun for the 3.1-mile, two-station extension from Addison Road Station to Largo Town Center in Prince George’s County, Md.
Weber County/Salt Lake City, Utah – Commuter Rail – $81.60 million in FY 2009
This 43-mile, eight-station commuter rail project will provide the areas of Pleasant View, Ogden, Clearfield, Layton, and Bountiful with direct access to downtown Salt Lake City. The commuter rail line will serve nearly 12,000 weekday riders, including 6,100 new daily riders, by 2025.
The project will cost a total of $611.7 million, with a federal New Starts Share of $489.4 million.