New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity Improvements
This is FTA’s primary grant program for funding major transit capital investments, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. It is a discretionary grant program unlike most others in government. Instead of an annual call for applications and selection of awardees by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the law requires that projects seeking CIG funding complete a series of steps over several years to be eligible for funding. For New Starts and Core Capacity projects, the law requires completion of two phases in advance of receipt of a construction grant agreement – Project Development and Engineering. For Small Starts projects, the law requires completion of one phase in advance of receipt of a construction grant agreement – Project Development. The law also requires projects to be rated by FTA at various points in the process according to statutory criteria evaluating project justification and local financial commitment. For a complete discussion of the CIG process and the evaluation criteria, please see FTA’s Policy Guidance.
Sponsors of capital investment grant projects should also become familiar with the transportation planning and environmental review process requirements that apply to projects funded by FTA. Find information on the transportation planning process and the environmental review process