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How Transit Is Funded

This category deals with every aspect of how transit gets funded, including the difference between capital and operating funding; the use of sales taxes like Measure R and Fasttracks, gas tax, property tax, and other taxes in the funding of transit; federal transit programs administered by the FTA such as the New Starts Program and the JARC program; farebox recovery rates, and innovative new transit programs such as Los Angeles Mayor Villargosa's America Fast Forward program.

Why We Cannot Cancel the Subway Line and Use the Money to Run More Buses
This article describes the difference between transit capital and operating funding.

Review of the New Federal Transportation Bill - MAP-21
Here is my review of the new federal transportation bill - MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress In the 21st Century).

The Basics of Transit Funding
After defining the difference between operating and capital funding, this article describes the different ways of financially supporting transit, including farebox revenues and revenues from sales, gas, property, and income taxes. Next, the article talks about transit support at the local, state, and federal level and refers to the New Starts...

Local Funding of Transit
This article describes some of the non-fare based local revenue sources for public transit.

Transit 101: Is It Cheaper to Take Transit Or Drivr a Car?
This article examines the relative cost of taking transit or driving a car, and emphatically concludes that taking transit is much cheaper than driving. In fact, the cost savings is the primary advantage of taking public transportation.

Transit Fare Payment Systems - A Primer
This article introduces the different ways transit fares can be paid, including by cash, token, ticket, transfer, day pass, monthly pass, UPASSES, tap cards, and through open fare payments by using credit cards.

Fare Evasion
An examination of fare evasion; included are descriptions of what is is, how many people do it, and what it costs transit agencies.

What Would Happen If Transit Were Free?
This article examines what would happen if transit were free and concludes that, with the exception of limited operations in areas of small population, free transit would cause significant overcrowding and vandalism.

Who Should Subsidize the Fares of Students, Senior, and Disabled Riders?
This article asks who should be subsidizing the lower than normal fares paid by students, seniors, and disabled riders and concludes, with one exception, that it should be the transit agency.

Transfers Versus the Daypass
This article examines the pros and cons of the transfer versus the daypass, and concludes that since both are useful in certain situations transit agencies should offer both of them.

Flat Versus Distance-Based Fares
This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of flat versus distance-based fares.

Elasticty of Ridership In Regards to Transit Fare and Service Changes
This article examines the elasticity of transit ridership in response to changes in fares and service levels.

Transit Grant Writing Part I
This article is the first of series that explores the topic of transit grants and grant writing.

Grant Writing Part II
This article is the second of a series that explores the topic of transit grants and grant writing.

Grant Writing Part III: Post-Grant Award
This article is the third of a series that explores the topic of transit grants and grant writing.

New Starts Program Overview
An overview of the Federal New Starts Program, the federal government's primary method of supporting the construction of new rapid transit lines and rehabilitation of existing ones. The program's budget is examined, including which projects are currently receiving funding. An analysis of the criteria upon which projects are judged follows;...

California Public Transit Funding
This is a quick overview of California Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.

New York State Public Transit Funding
This is a quick overview of New York Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.

Los Angeles County's Measure R
A summary of Los Angeles County's Measure R Sales Tax increase, including funding distribution, current status, and future issues.

30-10 Plan and America Fast Forward
A description of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villargosa's ambitious 30-10 plan and its current and future prospects.

Why the New Sales Tax Bill is Good for Transit
This article describes the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 and how important its' passage is for transit.

Canadian Public Transit Funding
This article provides an overview of Canadian public transit funding.

Local and Regional Funding Mechanisms for Public Transportation
This site links to a very large database that provides an extensive list of funding sources that are in use or have the prospect of being used at the local and regional level to support public transportation.

Survey of State Funding for Public Transportation
The AASHTO standing committee on public transportation has released a comprehensive listing of different funding programs for state public transportation agencies using FY 2008 data.

List of Farebox Recovery Rates
This is a publication from Washington State Department of Transportation from last year that lists farebox recovery ratios from a wide variety of cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. In the United State farebox recovery ratios in 2009 ranged from a high of 62% in Washington, DC to a low of 9% in Austin, Texas. Systems in Canada and Europe in general had a higher farebox recovery rate, and two systems in Asia - Singapore and Hong Kong - actually had an operating profit.

FY12 Federal Transit Funding
A review of the highlights of FY12 federal transit funding as contained in a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President in November 2011.

The Implications of the Fiscal Cliff and the Fiscal Cliff Bill for Transit
This article assesses the impacts of the fiscal cliff and the fiscal cliff bill in regards to public transportation.

Implementing Title VI Regulations
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans intentional or disparate discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Transit systems need to put in place procedures to follow to make sure they do not open themselves up to charges that the way they provide their services puts them in violation of Title VI. In addition, the more recent Environmental Justice order signed by President Clinton means that systems also may have to show they have ways of assessing whether they are contributing to environmental justice or not. The page below links to a memorandum describing some questions that need to be considered by a transit system when it is determining whether it is in compliance with Title VI and the Environmental Justice executive order.

Build America Bonds Fact Sheet
A fact sheet showing the impact of the Build America Bonds program operated by the United States Department of Treasury. According to the Department of Treasury more than $100 billion worth of these bonds have been issued at a savings to the issuer (local and state governments) of about $12 billion compared with normal municipal bonds. These savings are greater than the cost to the federal government of operating the program.

A Review of Left at the Station - A Civil Rights Perspective on Transit Justice
A recent campaign in Denver has targeted the local transit agencies replacement of bus with rail service, charging that the higher cash fare required for rail has unfairly affected low income passengers. Of course, monthly and daily pass holders are unaffected by the cash fare difference. How can we help low income passengers enjoy the benefits of period passes?

How Can We Determine the Optimum Amount of Subsidy to Public Transportation?
This article examines a New Zealand model that is attempting to determine the optimum amount of money to subsidize public transportation.

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