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IG Testifies on FTA Before House Panel

The Inspector General testified regarding FTA’s “New Starts” criteria before the House Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee. He testified that 38 projects are collectively seeking $24.3 billion in federal funding, but the funds available for New Starts projects over the next six years can support only a fraction of these.

He focused on these key areas:

• FTA can guide local authorities in analyzing alternatives to a light-rail system but does not approve selection of the locally preferred alternative.

• The New Starts evaluation process includes a variety of benefits for local agencies to consider in developing a preferred alternative.

• FTA has improved its ability to identify problems in forecasting local ridership—the single most critical element supporting project justification—but project justification will continue to be problematic without more reliable, up-to-date ridership analyses.

FTA Administrator Jennifer Dorn also testified.