July 28, 2009
In order to make its capital selection process more transparent in FY2009, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has revised the way in which is selects and prioritizes capital projects. CTA’s revised capital selection process includes an additional layer of accountability with the creation of a new Capital Governance Board consisting of five of the CTA’s executive vice presidents, its budget director, and its director of planning. The Capital Governance Board will review the FY2010-FY2014 proposed capital program and make recommendations to CTA management before management presents its final draft of the capital program to the CTA Board of Directors. After the Board of Directors approves the final capital program, the Capital Governance Board will review any subsequent proposed amendments to the capital program. The final plan will prioritize projects to be completed over a five-year period and funded on a cash-flow basis.
CTA management has traditionally scored and ranked projects according to several criteria to make its initial recommendations and will continue to do so under the revised capital selection process. The criteria include consideration of the following:
- Customer service,
- Operating efficiencies,
- Federal/state compliance,
- Innovations/technologies, and
- Community impacts.
CTA management also considers environmental justice under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and coordinating projects so that they do not impede CTA’s ability to provide service. Although projects are not scored and ranked according to these considerations, projects are evaluated against these principles in the capital selection process.
Notably, CTA management began developing FY2010-FY2014’s capital program earlier than in previous years, to allow CTA to take advantage of federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). CTA Budget Director Paul Fish outlined the Authority’s FY2010-FY2014 capital selection process timeline at the July 15, 2009 meeting of the Board of Directors’ Capital Construction Oversight Committee, which is summarized below:
- December 2008 – CTA solicited and collected project proposals.
- January 2009 – Priority “shovel ready” projects programmed into ARRA program of projects.
- July 2009 – CTA management will develop draft of FY2010 capital program.
- August 2009 – Capital Governance Board will review draft capital program.
- October 2009 – Final budget draft programs will be presented to CTA board.