New Starts

The Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5309 Capital Investment Grant program — formerly referred to as New Starts — is the main funding source for rail and bus expansion projects nationwide.

Karl Nielsen

MTC plays a critical role in developing consensus among Bay Area cities and counties about which transit projects should pursue highly competitive New Starts funding.

New Starts has three funding categories:

  • New Fixed Guideway Projects: Rail extensions with a minimum cost of $300 million, requesting grants above $75 million
  • Small Starts: Bus rapid transit projects, as well as lower cost rail projects
  • Core Capacity Projects: Improvements to an existing fixed guideway system that increases capacity by at least 10%

MTC plays a critical role in helping the Bay Area identify priority projects for New Starts funding.

And once a project is approved, MTC lobbies Congress to ensure appropriations fulfill the commitment.