California Transit Association Recommends Long-Term Funding Ideas

205374777_929e70338c.jpgFlickr photo: pbo31
The California Transit Association has submitted a list of recommendations (PDF) to the Commission of the 21st Century Economy, a "bipartisan" panel mostly appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger, that call for establishing a "stable, predictable source of long-term funding" for the state's public transit agencies. 

“The latest budget shell game only reinforced what we have long known to be true, that serious reform of the budget process is long overdue,” said Joshua Shaw, the CTA's Executive Director. “We’re hopeful that the formation of this commission and the work it undertakes can be a vital step in that direction.”

From the press release:

The Association's report calls for the commission to support continuation and strengthening of the transportation funding mechanisms first put into place by the state in 1971 through the Transportation Development Act, to modernize and standardize the existing TDA revenue stream, and to restore stability and predictability to other sources of state transit funding that have been put in place since the TDA was enacted.

The recommendations also urge constitutional protections to strengthen the intent of voters when they passed 1990's Proposition 116, which established the Public Transportation Account as a trust fund whose revenues were dedicated to "transportation planning and mass transportation purposes," and to clarify voters' intent in defining mass transportation purposes as "only those such as state, regional and local bus and rail passenger service open to the general public."

As we've noted many times, this year's elimination of the State Transit Assistance (STA) fund has really hurt public transit agencies up and down the state with fare hikes and service cuts on the table everywhere just as ridership is increasing.

In a recent interview with Streetsblog San Francisco, MTA Executive Director Nat Ford said he's been working with other public transit agencies on restructuring their strategies.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," said Ford. "The state transit assistance fund was a mandate from the voters to be part of the state budget not for it to be raided and divvied up at a time when the citizens need transit more than they've ever needed it for their transportation needs."