It is likely to be many years at best before the Foothill project completes the lengthy and rigorous New Starts process, assuming the FTA allows the project to remain under consideration.The FTA process for most places recently has taken 10 years from first application. Lines such as Charlotte, Phoenix, Seattle , and Oceanside (Links to New Starts Report Dates) which are just opening started planning thier lines in the end of the last decade. So LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich writes back saying the DOT and Ma Peters (Thanks Ryan) told him differently. (which makes me laugh as it should any of you all who have watched the process of the FTA over the last few years from your own experience as well as on this blog) Here's his comment:
The information in your letter to Congressman David Dreier is not consistent with what I was told last month when I was in Washington D.C. meeting with the Secretary of Transportation and the Chief Counsel of the Federal Transit Administration. Both made it quite clear that the reason the Gold Line Foothill Extension project has not been able to progress under the FTA’s “New Starts” program was due to the MTA’s failure to prioritize the project as part of its long-term project list.When Mary Peters tells you something about transit and the FTA it's kind of common knowledge now that you can't believe a thing she says. That's a great excuse they give though. Not only will the Gold Line be hard to fund through the federal process that favors BRT, it is impossible they will be able to get $320 million out of the deal. In the history of new starts, the only cities that got 80% of thier project costs paid for were back in the late 90s. 80% is what the match is supposed to be and what highways get, but the New Starts program is underfunded. I dare anyone however to find a project that gets more that 50% in the most recent new starts list. Recently its been more like 50% or for example Salt Lake City signed an MOU to fund 4 lines at 20% federal match.
So sorry Mike, if you andRep. Drier were actually paying attention to what is happening at the FTA in Washington, you would know that what you're looking to do is insane and not even the most powerful congressional teams have been able to get any more without an earmark. Mr. Snoble is correct in saying if you want the project built sooner, its better to go local, at least until the next transportation bill gets written.