Last week Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed new livability-based funding guidelines for major transit projects and rescinded Bush administration requirements that based funding decisions on how much a project shortened commute times compared to its cost. The criteria determine which projects get funded under the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts and Small Starts programs.
"We're going to free our flagship transit capital program from long-standing requirements that have allowed us only to green-light projects that meet very narrow cost and performance criteria," LaHood told the Transportation Research Board annual meeting on Jan. 13. "Instead, as we evaluate major transit projects going forward, we'll consider all the factors that help communities reduce their carbon footprint, spur economic activity and relieve congestion. To put it simply, we will take livability into account."
What do you think of the new criteria that Secretary LaHood proposed? How would they improve the New Starts and Small Starts programs and how might they hurt them? What other changes would you propose making to the criteria for determining which transit projects receive federal funding?