Why support transit?
Whether you ride transit in Sacramento or not, you may not be aware of
the many ways that public transit supports the Sacramento region. Public
transit reduces traffic congestion, helps to improve the air quality,
stimulates the economy, and provides an essential lifeline to many seniors,
youth, and the disabled.
One of the biggest issues facing our region is how to effectively
accommodate an additional 1,000,000 residents by 2025. Incorporating
transit as an integral part of the Sacramento regionís
growth plan is critical
to planning safe, convenient, economically sound, environmentally friendly
and healthy communities.
The Sacramento Regional Transit District was established by the
California State Legislature in 1971 to operate a single unified public
transportation system in the Sacramento region in order to meet the present
and future public transportation, and mass and rapid transit, needs of the
The following is a brief explanation of Sacramento Regional Transit Districtís funding.
How much does the money from RT passenger fares pay for transit
services?RT fare revenues provide
approximately 20 percent of the money needed to operate bus and rail transit
service from year to year. This percentage is called RTís Fare Recovery
How does RT fund its transit services beyond passenger fare revenue?RT bus, light rail, capital and
operating revenues come from the federal and state governments, developer
fees and local sales tax.
What is Sacramentoís local sales tax for transportation?Measure A is a 1/2-cent sales
tax that supports road and public transportation improvements in Sacramento
County. Passed by the voters in 1988, it expires in 2009. The Sacramento
Regional Transit District receives approximately 1/3 of the tax (1/6 cent).
In November 2004, voters approved an extension of the sales tax until 2039
with transit receiving 38.25% of the 1/2-cent tax.
What is the connection between local funding and federal funding?The local transportation
sales tax is used as a local match to acquire state and federal money for
the RT capital program and to support transit operations.
What other sources of funding are available?Local county developer fees
provide revenue. These fees are levied against new development within
unincorporated Sacramento County and can only be used for capital projects
within each of the districts in which they are collected. Through the
developer fees, new real estate developments share the cost of providing
public services required to accommodate increased traffic congestion and
diminished air quality.
State sources include the Public Transportation
Account, Transportation Development Act, State Transportation
Improvement Program (STIP), and
Propositions 108 and 116.
Federal Funding is mostly for transit system construction and equipment
maintenance. Sources include
Federal Discretionary Funds (TEA-21),
Surface Transportation Program, Fixed Guideway Modernization,
and Formula Funds.
State Funding Sources
Public Transportation Account (PTA) Revenues accrue from a sales tax on
gasoline and diesel fuel. Fifty percent of all PTA revenues go to the
State Transit Assistance (STA) Program, which provides funds for public
transit operations and for regional transit projects. STA funds are
allocated to the region based upon two factors: (1) 50 percent based on
population and (2) 50 percent based on fare revenues from the prior
(See Local Transportation Fund under Local Funding)
State Transportation Improvement
Every two years, the California
Transportation Commission programs funds for a variety of projects that
relieve congestion on state highways and local streets, including transit
construction projects. Seventy-five percent of STIP funds are distributed
to the counties. The remaining 25 percent is programmed for intercity
highway and rail improvements.
Propositions 108 and 116
In 1990, California voters approved two important bond measures:
Propositions 108 and 116. Proposition 108 (Passenger Rail and Clean Air
Act) provided one billion dollars under the Commuter and Urban rail
program, from which RT received $154 million. Proposition 116 (Clean Air
and Transportation Improvement Act) provided almost two billion dollars
for transportation, from which RT receives $100 million for rail
improvements. These two funding sources contributed more than half of the
revenue for the South Line and Amtrak/Folsom light rail extension
Federal Funding Sources
On June 9, 1998, President Clinton signed into law
H.R. 2400, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century or
"TEA-21." This legislation provides that transit spending is guaranteed
at a fixed amount specified in the legislation and can be used only for
Federal Discretionary Funds
TEA-21, under the New Starts program,
includes Section 5309 discretionary monies for New Rail Starts, buses and
Section 5307 formula funds are appropriated
annually by Congress to transit agencies based upon population served and
the amount of transit service provided. TEA-21 allows RT to use Section
5307 funds for capital projects and for bus and light rail vehicle
maintenance. TEA-21 also allows up to 10 percent of the formula funds to
be used to fund paratransit service to persons with disabilities.
Section 5308 Clean-Fuels Formula
This program provides grants to public
transit operators to use on clean-fuel technologies for their bus fleets.
Fixed Guideway Modernization
This program, using a formula based on
system age, length and level of service, provides annual funding to
upgrade and improve the light rail vehicles, stations and maintenance
Congestion Mitigation and Air
Quality Program (CMAQ)
CMAQ funds are available to urbanized areas
that have not attained the ozone and carbon monoxide air quality
standards established in the federal Clean Air Act or that have been
designated as maintenance areas for ozone and carbon monoxide.
Commute Program funds projects designed to
provide welfare recipients and lowincome individuals access to jobs and
to fund reverse commute initiatives.
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