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New Starts: Lessons Learned for Discretionary Federal Transportation Funding Programs

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Transportation Policy Project is one of many groups calling for new competitive programs with broad investment goals and eligibility, plus incentives for states and metropolitan areas to implement programs that support the nation’s transportation objectives. The New Starts program, administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is essentially the only discretionary transportation program of any size that offers a history of program design and implementation extending over many years.

This paper analyzes the FTA’s discretionary New Starts program to identify the lessons learned and components that might be relevant to these new competitive programs, particularly with respect to federal funding decisions.

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