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Each year, the Federal Transit Administration doles out more than $2 billion to help build new rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit systems through its Capital Investment Grants Program. Much of that money is distributed as part of the “New Starts” program, which gives grants for projects that cost more than $300 million in total, or which are seeking at least $100 million in federal money. In order to justify that much investment, cities and regional transit authorities need to show that the project will improve mobility, reduce congestion, and produce environmental and economic-development benefits. A new bill from Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat from San Diego, would add housing to the list.

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