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4/20/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

California needs 'stable, predictable' state funding source, transit association says


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In February, California legislators adopted a budget that eliminated all state funding for transit operations. Now, the California Transit Association is calling for a "stable, predictable source of long-term funding" for public transportation.

The association recently submitted recommendations to the Commission on the 21st Century Economy, a panel charged with studying ways to modernize California's revenue laws. The California Transit Association's report calls for the commission to support the transportation funding mechanisms first put into place by the state in 1971 through the Transportation Development Act (TDA); modernize and standardize the existing TDA revenue stream; and restore stability and predictability to other sources of state transit funding that have been put in place since the TDA was enacted.

The association also recommends the panel implement constitutional protections on 1990's Proposition 116, which established the Public Transportation Account (PTA) as a trust fund with revenue dedicated to transportation planning and mass transportation purposes. The panel also should clarify "mass transportation purposes" as "only those such as state, regional and local bus and rail passenger service open to the general public," the association said.
 
Since 2007, the state has diverted PTA funds to cover non-transit programs, such as home-to-school busing and transport to regional occupations centers. The state has diverted $3 billion in PTA funds during the last two budget cycles.
 


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