SacRT began operations on April 1, 1973, with the acquisition of the Sacramento Transit Authority. Later that year, SacRT completed a new maintenance facility and purchased 103 new buses.

SacRT continued to expand bus service to the growing Sacramento region while a cooperative effort emerged among city, county and state government officials to develop a light rail system. In 1987 the 18.3-mile light rail system opened, linking the northeastern (Interstate 80) and eastern (Highway 50) corridors with downtown Sacramento.

SacRT completed its first light rail extension in September 1998 with the opening of the Mather Field/Mills Station. In September 2003, SacRT opened the first phase of the Blue Line to South Sacramento, a 6.3-mile extension with seven new stations. In June of 2004, light rail was extended from the Mather Field/Mills Station to Sunrise Boulevard with three new stations. In October, 2005, light rail was extended 7.4 miles east from the Sunrise Station to the city of Folsom, which included four new stations. In December 2006, SacRT completed the final segment of the Gold Line (also referred to as the Amtrak/Folsom Corridor) project when it opened the .7-mile light rail extension to Sacramento Valley Station with the addition of two new stations, which connects light rail with Amtrak inter-city and Capitol Corridor rail service as well as local commuter buses. In, 2012, SacRT opened the Green Line to the River District, which is the first phase of the Green Line to the Airport light rail extension project. The Green Line to the River District extends light rail 1.1 miles north connecting downtown Sacramento to the River District.

In August 2015, SacRT opened the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College (CRC) ahead of schedule and under budget which is the second phase of the Blue Line project. The Blue Line to CRC extends light rail 4.3 miles south from Meadowview Road to Cosumnes River College and includes four new stations.

In 2019, the cities of Citrus Heights and Folsom annexed their transit service to SacRT and was recently awarded the service contract by the City of Elk Grove to operate their e-tran and e-van service.

SacRT is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors comprised of members of the Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Folsom city councils as well as the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. The fiscal year 2020 operating budget is $193 million, with a capital budget of $722 million, which include $231.4 million in FY 2020 Capitol Additions.

SacRT employs a work force of approximately 1,100 people, 84.6 percent of whom are dedicated to operations and maintenance of the bus and light rail systems. SacRT operates three maintenance and operations facilities one for buses at 29th and N Streets, one for the Community Bus Service at McClellan Park, and one for the light rail system at 2700 Academy Way in north Sacramento.

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