WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Transit Administration announced $25.7 million in competitively awarded grants through the Alternative Analysis grant program to help community officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia evaluate and select the best options to help place new or expanded transit systems in their communities. The Alternatives Analysis grant program is the first key milestone in the FTA New Starts process — the primary source for federally funded transit projects. Conducting an “alternatives analysis” ensures that various costs and benefits, route options, and other important considerations are taken into account as part of FTA’s capital planning process, known as New Starts. The analysis is complete once a locally preferred alternative is selected and adopted as part of the affected region’s long-range transportation plan.

New Starts has provided between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion annually for major transit construction projects in recent years; an additional $750 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds were advanced to New Starts projects in 2009.

The 23 winning proposals were submitted by transit and other public agencies from across the country as part of a nationwide competition. Winning proposals demonstrated need by identifying a substantial transportation challenge in a particular corridor and proposing technical work that would provide cost and benefit information on the alternatives studied to address the problem. Priority was given to project sponsors coordinating transit project development with relevant public housing agencies, or with relevant energy or environmental public agencies. The agency reviewed 67 applications from 30 states seeking a total of $73 million in funds.

The winning project proposals are listed here: www.fta.dot.gov/news/news_events_12233.html.