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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Capital Investment Grants Program

New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity Improvements

New Starts and Core Capacity Process

What's New

  • On April 5, 2024, FTA released proposed CIG Policy Guidance, starting a 60-day public comment period. This comprehensive set of revisions is intended to update FTA’s CIG Policy Guidance last published in January 2023. 

  • On March 11, President Biden submitted his Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal to Congress. Along with the budget, FTA submitted the FY25 Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the Capital Investment Grants Program and Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program

  • On January 12, 2023, FTA released Initial CIG Policy Guidance updates reflecting changes made to project eligibility in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The updated guidance helps FTA manage the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program in the near term while more comprehensive CIG policy guidance changes to the evaluation and rating process can be proposed by FTA for public comment, then finalized. 

  • The CIG dashboard reports data and the status of milestones for New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity projects seeking funding. Information is updated monthly based on progress reported by project sponsors to FTA's Office of Planning and Environment. 

Overview

This FTA discretionary grant program funds transit capital investments, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. Federal transit law requires transit agencies seeking CIG funding to complete a series of steps over several years.

  • For New Starts and Core Capacity projects, the law requires completion of two phases in advance of receipt of a construction grant agreement: Project Development and Engineering.
  • For Small Starts projects, the law requires completion of one phase in advance of receipt of a construction grant agreement: Project Development.

The law also requires projects to be rated by FTA at various points in the process according to statutory criteria evaluating project justification and local financial commitment. For a complete discussion of the CIG process and the evaluation criteria, please see FTA’s Policy Guidance.

Sponsors of CIG projects should also become familiar with the transportation planning and environmental review process requirements that apply to projects funded by FTA. Find information on the transportation planning process and the environmental review process.