Mass Transit: Status of New Starts Program and Potential for Bus Rapid Transit Projects

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Transportation Administration's (FTA) New Starts Program helps pay for designing and constructing rail, bus, and trolley projects through full funding grant agreements. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), authorized $6.1 billion in "guaranteed" funding for the New Starts program through fiscal year 2003. Although the level of New Starts funding is higher than ever, the demand for these resources is also extremely high. Given this high demand for new and expanded transit facilities across the nation, communities need to examine approaches that stretch ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. June 20, 2002.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Transportation Administration's (FTA) New Starts Program helps pay for designing and constructing rail, bus, and trolley projects through full funding grant agreements. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), authorized $6.1 billion in "guaranteed" funding for the New Starts program through fiscal year 2003. Although the level of New Starts funding is higher than ever, the demand for these resources is also extremely high. Given this high demand for new and expanded transit facilities across the nation, communities need to examine approaches that stretch the federal and local dollar yet still provide high quality transit services. Although FTA has been faced with an impending transit budget crunch for several years, it is likely to end the TEA-21 authorization period with $310 million in unused New Starts commitment authority if its proposed fiscal year 2003 budget is enacted. Bus Rapid Transit is designed to provide major improvements in the speed and reliability of bus service through barrier-separated busways, buses on High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes, or improved service on arterial streets. GAO found that Bus Rapid Transit was a less expensive and more flexible approach than Light Rail service because buses can be rerouted more easily to accommodate changing travel patterns. However, transit officials also noted that buses have a poor public image. As a result, many transit planners are designing Bus Rapid Transit systems that offer service that will be an improvement over standard bus service (see GAO-02-603)."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • June 20, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Mass Transit: Status of New Starts Program and Potential for Bus Rapid Transit Projects, text, June 20, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289913/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.