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How Does the Federal New Starts Process Relate to Soft Costs? 15 Second, the federal process for new transit capital projects imposes some unique requirements on project sponsors that usually result in soft costs. For example, The FTA requires grantees to estimate "transportation system user benefits" of the project by following certain procedures, typically resulting in some professional services soft costs for travel demand modeling. During PE, the federal process tends to encourage grantees to analyze environmental impacts in concert with developing engineering plans, which can advance some engineering soft costs. The FTA requires grantees to analyze the environmental justice impacts of a project, conduct a risk assessment process, and develop a project management plan, usually resulting in some soft costs. Even if a project sponsor chooses Federal versus Non-Federal Projects to forego federal funds, the project Despite the impact of the FTA's New Starts project development process on soft costs, its impacts are probably not unique. Even if a project sponsor chooses to forego federal funds, the may face state and project may face state and local requirements that can affect soft costs in very similar ways to the local requirements, FTA's process throughout the project's life: which may affect During PE, the environmental reviews required at the state level can be as stringent as federal soft costs in very requirements. However, the sponsor may not be required to estimate ridership or develop a project management plan in the same way. similar ways to the During final design, the amount of time required to develop construction plans is typically FTA's process the same, although state and local review times can be shorter than federal. In the construction phase, the major soft costs for managing the construction project are throughout the probably equivalent to a federal project. project's life.