In today’s Move It! column, Rad Sallee mentions the rating formula used by the Federal Transit Administration to help determine which light rail projects will get federal funding:
Metro said the Federal Transit Administration had rated two of the planned lines, in the North and Southeast study corridors, as “medium low” in cost-effectiveness and had advised Metro that at least a medium rating is usually needed to qualify for funding.
U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, was not alone in his confusion. Green noted that the two lines went through largely low-income Hispanic and black neighborhoods, where many people ride the bus because they have to.
FTA spokesman Paul Griffo said the formula the agency uses to judge proposals is complicated.
But in brief, analysts compare the cost of a light rail project to the value of the time that riders would save by taking light rail instead of a bus not running on a fixed guideway.
Griffo said the FTA rated Metro’s Southeast plan at $24.31 and its North plan $23.80. The lower the numbers the better, and the dividing line between a “medium” project and a “low medium” one was $22.
Well, I’m one of those who likes to be able to see the original source of information, so with some help from Tom Bazan, here is a direct link with all the FTA New Starts information, including the formula for rating proposed light rail projects.