FTA's Transit Recommendations Favor Financial Plans
"The FTA's scores for projects being submitted for federal funding illustrate a change in the way the agency will move forward in choosing which programs will be funded: Instead of focusing on an index of the hours saved by projected passengers to whittle down the number of performing projects, the Department of Transportation has shifted its sights towards rewarding local transit authorities that are well-funded and that commit to sponsoring a larger percentage of a project's cost.
The overall effect is that the FTA will now be able to fund rail and bus lines that would have been automatically eliminated last year under the cost-effectiveness index, based on travel-time savings, and it will be able to fund a larger number of projects overall because of increasing local contributions."
THE FTA seems to be favoring projects that have detailed and comprehensive financial plans, according to this analysis. Without those plans, projects will not likely move forward through the New Starts funding process.