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Southern California Transit Advocates is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of public transportation in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

State/Federal Transportation Funding Resources


The California Transit Association has graciously allowed us to redistribute an overview on Public Transportation Funding:

Kymberleigh Richards' Transit Insider website has an overview of state transportation funding processes using materials prepared by Odyssey and the California Transit Association:

The Legislative Analyst's Office has released reports on Revenue Volatility in California, Implementation of Proposition 1B, and the 2009-10 Budget's Transportation allocations.

The State of California now posts a chart providing information of the progress of the spending of bond funds provided by Proposition 1B (2006):

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission of the Bay Area has on its website excellent resources on planning and funding processes - the ABCs of the MTC and Moving Costs.

Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration have prepared A Citizen's Guide to Transportation Decisionmaking which discusses federal requirements for the transportation decisionmaking process.

The Surface Transportation Policy Partnership has prepared a guidebook, "A Guide to Transportation Opportunities in Your Community" that describes key elements of federal law that can enable more effective transportation planning and greater use of the flexibility of federal dollars to expand travel options. This Guide can be found at http://www.transact.org/PDFs/margins2006/STPP_guidebook_margins.pdf

Show Me the Money: A Decision-Maker's Funding Compendium for Transportation Systems Management and Operations provides an overview of existing transportation and non-transportation federal funding sources available to government organizations:

The Annual Report to the Legislature by the California Transportation Commission outlines the current status of the state transportation system:

The Congressional Budget Office has issued a report on the status of the Federal Transportation Trust Funds, 2007:

The National Transportation Library has available the U.S. Department of Transportation document "Urban Transportation Planning in the United States: An Historic Overview":

The Legislative Analyst Office has prepared a report on the status as of late 2009 of California's use of federal economic stimulus funds for transportation:


The American Public Transit Association at its 2006 annual meeting had a panel calling for a new funding system to support diverse elements of the transportation network, including mass transit:

The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission was created by Congress to examine not only the condition and future needs of the nation's surface transportation system, but also short and long-term alternatives to replace or supplement the fuel tax as the principal revenue source to support the Highway Trust Fund over the next 30 years; on Jan. 15, 2008 it issued its Final Report with recommendations.

Congress established the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission and charged it with analyzing future highway and transit needs and the finances of the Highway Trust Fund and making recommendations regarding alternative approaches to financing transportation infrastructure. They released their Final Report February 26, 2009.

The Prop 42 Coalition seeks to restore state funding for transportation projects:

Financing Intermodal Transportation is a report from Reconnecting America prepared by transportation finance expert William J. Ankner, Ph.D. (link is to a summary by the author):

The Future Highway and Public Transportation Finance study was commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through the National Chamber Foundation. The objective is to identify funding mechanisms to meet national highway and transit investment needs. Phase I focuses on short-term funding for the period 2005 through 2015 and Phase II addresses long-term funding mechanisms, including alternatives to the current fuel tax-based system.

Transportation Research Board Special Report 285: The Fuel Tax and Alternatives for Transportation Funding examines the viability of existing revenue sources, the merits of present transportation finance arrangements, and potential directions for reform of transportation finance:

National Cooperative Highway Research Program Web-Only Document 102: Future Financing Options
to Meet Highway and Transit Needs assesses the viability of a range of conventional and innovative options for financing investments and operations of highway and transit systems:

The Congressional Research Service has issued a report on "Public-Private Partnerships in Highway and Transit Infrastructure Provision":

The California Debt & Investment Advisory Commission has issued an analysis of privatization and public-private partnerships: http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdiac/publications/privatization.pdf

The State Treasurer's Office has an Analyses of GARVEE Bonding Capacity:

Caltrans has an Innovative Finance program and program for GARVEE bonding.

The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank provides innovative financing for infrastructure via its Revolving Fund:

Cities and counties can create Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) divert property tax increment revenues for 30 years to pay for regional scale public works (not maintenance, repairs, operating costs, or services):

The Statewide Community Infrastructure Program ("SCIP") is a development impact fee-financed program, which utilizes 1913/15 Act bonds. Through SCIP roads, water sewer, storm drainage, parks, etc. can be funded by tax-exempt bonds:

The Congressional Budget Office has released a report on Subsidizing Infrastructure Investment with Tax-Preferred Bonds: http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/106xx/doc10667/10-26-TaxPreferredBonds.pdf

National Cooperative Highway Research Program Web-Only Document 143: Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding: http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/2009/RAND_RP1395.pdf

The Mineta Transportation Institute in June 2010 released a report "What Do Americans Think About Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results From A National Survey": http://transweb.sjsu.edu/MTIportal/research/publications/documents/2928%20-%20Annual%20Trans.%20Survey%20%286.24.2010%29.pdf


The state legislature has prepared a concise guide to the state budget process (in Acrobat format).

The Senate Local Government Committee has issued a publication on Revenues and Responsibilities: An Inventory of Local Tax Powers

The California Budget Project regulary issues reports on state budget issues:
"http://www.cbp.org/publications/pub_statebudget.html" including an informative primer entitled "How Is Transportation Funded in California?"

California Forward seeks to reform California's budget process:

The Legislative Analyst's Office has prepared an updated version of their report on California Travels: Financing Our Transportation.

The Public Policy Institute of California has prepared an Occasional Paper on Understanding Infrastructure Financing for California:

The State of California prepares a Five Year Infrastructure Plan on an irregular basis:


The Transportation Research Board in the article "Earmarking in U.S. Department of Transportation Research Programs: What is the Rationale? What are the Risks?" (July-August 2005 TR News) outlines concerns about the growing trend of earmarks in federal appropriation and reauthorization legislation for transportation:

The process by which FY 2008 appropriations to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Related Agencies were set is described in this summary of a Congressional Research Service Report with the full report available for download (in Acrobat format).

The Public Policy Institute of California and the California Institute for Federal Policy Research have initiated a series of reports on California's current and historical funding under the major federal grants and on the formula factors used to determine California's share of funding under various specific grants. Topics have included federal highway programs and federal transit assistance funding: http://www.calinst.org/formulas.htm

Metro CEO Roger Snoble testified at the May 10, 2007 House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Hearing on Implementation of New Starts and Small Starts Program and on the need to reform the New Starts Process: http://republicans.transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Testimony/Highways/5-10-07-Snoble.pdf

Building America's Future (BAF) is a bipartisan coalition of elected officials promoting federal investment in infrastructure:


AAA presented to the OCTA Board A Brief History of Highways and Transportation Funding in America

The Congressional Budget Office in August 2007 released a report on "Trends in Public Spending on
Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2004":

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has prepared a report on "The Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline and the Highway Trust Fund: A Short History":


The Orange County Transportation Authority has placed on its website a funding guide. Metro has on its website (in Acrobat format) an in-depth funding sources guide.

Caltrans has prepared a Transportation Funding Opportunities Guidebook: State and Federal Funds Available for Local Agency Projects:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/lam/lagb/tfog.pdf and also has available a set of charts detailing transportation funding in California at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/ote/fundchrt_files/Funding_Charts.pdf

The State Controller issues guidelines for cities and counties use of gas tax revenues:

The American Public Transit Association (the transit industry trade association) has prepared a guide to the transit portion of SAFETEA-LU:

The Metro Library has prepared a factsheet outlining the Formula Allocation Procedure by which federal, state and local operating funds are divided among transit agencies in Los Angeles County:


The UCLA School of Public Affairs' Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy
Studies issued in April 1997 as Working Papers #21 a report by Lewison Lee Lem on California's Highway Funding Apportionment Formula: Geographic Redistribution Among Counties:

The Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento, issued in November 2003 as #53 of reports done as part of its Faculty Research Fellows Program a report by Adrian R. Fleissig, Ph.D., and William Gayk, Ph.D., California State University, Fullerton on Distribution of State Transportation Funding:

The Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at USC has prepared several interesting reports on California transportation funding issues and options:

"Local Transportation Sales Taxes: California's Experiment in Transportation Finance" is available for reading via the University of California Transportation Center website:

Cato Institute Policy Analysis no.559 is A Desire Named Streetcar: How Federal Subsidies Encourage Wasteful Local Transit Systems by Randal O'Toole:

Author Randal O'Toole interviewed on National Public Radio:
Here is a response by the Center for Transportation Excellence:
The Victoria Transport Policy Institute has updated its publication "Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism" to address O'Toole's latest criticisms:
"Next Stop: California. Benefits of High-Speed Rail Around the World and What's in Store for California" is published by the Public Interest Network:


At the May 17, 2007 meeting of the Southern California Association of Governments Plans and Programs Technical Advisory Committee a presentation was made on air quality conformity, a process that has significant impacts on federal funding of transportation projects:

The Pew Charitable Trust has prepared a "Subsidyscope" providing detailed data and summary statistics on federal transportation subsidies: