Chapter 8 Funding Considerations

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1 Chapter 8 Funding Considerations Expanding transit services into El Dorado Hills under any of the service alternatives has associated operating and capital costs. This chapter considers the funding sources that are typically available for a transit program in El Dorado Hills. A detailed financial plan will be developed for the Draft Final Report after preferred service alternatives are selected and developed. Current Sources of Funding for El Dorado Transit The revenue sources required to support El Dorado Transit s administration, operations and maintenance are drawn from a number of sources. Currently, the largest source of income for El Dorado Transit is Local Transportation Funds (LTF) funds, which account for over half of operating revenues. This is followed by passenger fares, which account for approximately 16 percent of revenues and which include cash fares, scrip, and local and commuter bus pass sales. State Transit Assistance Funds (STA) and the FTA Section 5311 program (for transit programs in non-urbanized areas) make up the bulk of the remainder of revenues, with a small portion of the revenue from AB 2766 (air quality improvement grants) funding for operation of the Apple Hill Shuttle, Spare the Air free fare days and the Fair Shuttle. These sources of funding and any potential to increase funding levels for El Dorado Hills service are discussed below. FEDERAL TRANSIT FUNDING SOURCES The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administers a variety of public transit grant programs across the nation. The latest legislation for funding transportation programs is MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L ), signed into law on July 6, Funding surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005 (which was extended ten times). MAP-21 is intended to create a streamlined and performance-based surface transportation program building on many of the highway, transit, bike, and pedestrian programs and policies established in Below is a description of the various grant programs, some of which are new, and some of which have been consolidated or changed from previous programs. NEW PROGRAMS UNDER MAP-21 FTA Section 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities Program A new formula grant program is established under Section 5339, replacing the previous Section 5309 discretionary Bus and Bus Facilities program (which El Dorado Transit was a recipient of in the past). This capital program provides funding to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, and to construct bus-related facilities. Authorized funding is $422 million in FY 2013 and $428 million in FY Each year, $65.5 million is allocated with each State receiving $1.25 million and each territory (including DC and Puerto Rico) receiving $500,000. El Dorado Hills Needs Assessment and US 50 Corridor Operations Plan LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. Final Report Page 125

2 The remaining funding is distributed by formula based on population, vehicle revenue miles and passenger miles. This program requires a 20 percent local match. FTA Section 5337 State of Good Repair Program MAP-21 established a new grant program to maintain public transportation systems in a state of good repair. This program replaced the fixed guideway modernization program (Section 5309). Funding is limited to fixed guideway systems (including rail, bus rapid transit, and passenger ferries) and high intensity bus (high intensity bus refers to buses operating in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.) Projects are limited to replacement and rehabilitation, or capital projects required to maintain public transportation systems in a state of good repair. Projects must be included in a transit asset management plan to receive funding. The new formula is comprised of: (1) the former fixed guideway modernization formula; (2) a new service-based formula; and (3) a new formula for buses on HOV lanes. Authorized funding for this program is $2.1 billion in FY 2013 and $2.2 billion in FY FTA Section 5326 Asset Management Provisions MAP-21 requires FTA to define the term state of good repair and create objective standards for measuring the condition of capital assets, including equipment, rolling stock, infrastructure, and facilities. Based on that definition, FTA must then develop performance measures under which all FTA grantees will be required to set targets. All FTA grantees and their sub-recipients are required to develop transit asset management plans. These plans must include, at a minimum, capital asset inventories, condition assessments, and investment prioritization. Each designated recipient of FTA formula funding will be required to report on the condition of its system, any change in condition since the last report, targets set under the above performance measures, and progress towards meeting those targets. These measures and targets must be incorporated into metropolitan and statewide transportation plans and transportation improvement programs (TIPs). FTA supports this effort through technical assistance, including the development of an analytical process or decision support tool that allows recipients to estimate their capital investment needs over time and assists with asset investment prioritization. CONSOLIDATED PROGRAMS UNDER MAP-21 FTA Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants The largest of FTA s grant programs, this program provides grants to urbanized areas (50,000 population or more per the US Census) to support public transportation. Funding is distributed by formula based on the level of transit service provision, population, and other factors. The program remains largely unchanged with a few exceptions: Job access and reverse commute activities now eligible: Activities eligible under the former Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program, which focused on providing services to low-income individuals to access jobs, are now eligible under the Urbanized Area Formula program. This includes operating assistance, with a 50 percent local match required for job access and reverse commute activities. In addition, the urbanized area formula for distributing funds now includes the number of low-income individuals as a factor. There is LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. Page 126 El Dorado Hills Needs Assessment and US 50 Corridor Operations Final Report

3 no floor or ceiling on the amount of funds that can be spent on job access and reverse commute activities. Services for the White Rock Affordable Housing might be eligible for this funding, as well as services connecting to the Iron Point Connector or Commuter runs. Expanded eligibility for operating expenses for systems with 100 or fewer buses: MAP-21 expands eligibility for using Urbanized Area Formula funds for operating expenses. Previously, only urbanized areas with populations below 200,000 were eligible to use Federal transit funding for operating expenses. Now, transit systems in urbanized areas over 200,000 can use their formula funding for operating expenses if they operate no more than 100 buses. Systems operating between 76 and 100 buses in fixed route service during peak service hours may use up to 50 percent of their attributable share of funding for operating expenses. Systems operating 75 or fewer buses in fixed-route service during peak service hours may use up to 75 percent of their attributable share of funding for operating expenses. This expanded eligibility for operating assistance under the Urbanized formula program excludes rail systems. El Dorado Transit would fall under the category of 75 or fewer buses in fixed-route service. New takedown for safety oversight: MAP-21 sets aside one half of one percent (approximately $22 million per year) of Urbanized Area Formula funds for State safety oversight grants (see above section on safety). El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park are included in the Sacramento Urbanized Area. El Dorado Transit is eligible to apply for these funds through the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) through a competitive process. However, with the changes related to allocating funding based on the number of buses in operation, this makes combining urban and rural funding much more difficult. This is an issue El Dorado Transit is currently investigating. FTA Section 5311 Rural Area Formula Grants This program provides capital, planning, and operating assistance to support public transportation in rural areas, defined as areas with fewer than 50,000 residents. Funding is based on a formula that uses land area, population, and transit service. The program remains largely unchanged with a few exceptions: Job access and reverse commute activities eligible: Activities eligible under the former Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program, which provided services to low-income individuals to access jobs, are now eligible under the Rural Area Formula program. In addition, the formula now includes the number of low-income individuals as a factor. There is no floor or ceiling on the amount of funds that can be spent on job access and reverse commute activities. Tribal Program: The Tribal program now consists of a $25 million formula program and a $5 million discretionary grant program. Formula factors include vehicle revenue miles and the number of low-income individuals residing on tribal lands. Other Programs: The set-aside for States for administration, planning, and technical assistance is reduced from 15 to 10 percent. The cost of the unsubsidized portion of El Dorado Hills Needs Assessment and US 50 Corridor Operations Plan LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. Final Report Page 127

4 privately provided intercity bus service that connects feeder service is now eligible as in-kind local match. The FTA 5311 grant program has been an important revenue source for El Dorado Transit in the past. In California, a percent local match is required for capital programs and a percent match for operating expenditures. The bulk of the funds are apportioned directly to rural counties based on population levels. The remaining funds are distributed by Caltrans on a discretionary basis and are typically used for capital purposes. El Dorado Transit received $449,500 in FTA Section 5311 funds in , but this has been reduced to $372,427 for El Dorado Transit will likely request additional 5307 funds to make up for this $77,000 reduction. As El Dorado Hills is within the Sacramento urbanized area, these funds cannot be used directly to fund new services in El Dorado Hills. FTA Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities This program provides formula funding to increase the mobility of seniors and persons with disabilities. Funds are apportioned based on each State s share of the targeted populations and are now apportioned to both non-urbanized (for all areas with population under 200,000) and large urbanized areas (over 200,000). The former New Freedom program (5317) is folded into this program. The New Freedom program provided grants for services for individuals with disabilities that went above and beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Activities eligible under New Freedom are now eligible under the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program. Projects selected for funding must be included in a locally developed, coordinated public transithuman services transportation plan; and the competitive selection process, which was required under the former New Freedom program, is now optional. At least 55 percent of program funds must be spent on the types of capital projects eligible under the former section public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable. The remaining 45 percent may be used for: public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the ADA; public transportation projects that improve access to fixed-route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit; or, alternatives to public transportation that assist seniors and individuals with disabilities. Using these funds for operating expenses requires a 50 percent local match while using these funds for capital expenses (including acquisition of public transportation services) requires a 20 percent local match. In the past, El Dorado Transit has been awarded 5310 funds for DAR vans. Depending on the alternative selected, this may be a funding source for operations or capital in El Dorado Hills. STATE TRANSIT FUNDING SOURCES Transportation Development Act Local Transportation Fund Program A mainstay of funding for transit programs in California is provided by the Transportation Development Act (TDA). The major portion of TDA funds are provided through the Local LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. Page 128 El Dorado Hills Needs Assessment and US 50 Corridor Operations Final Report

5 Transportation Fund (LTF). These funds are generated by a one-fourth cent statewide sales tax, returned to the county of origin. The returned funds must be spent for the following purposes: Two percent may be provided for bicycle facilities per TDA statues. The remaining funds must be spent for transit and paratransit purposes, unless a finding is made by the Transportation Commission that no unmet transit needs exist that can be reasonably met. (Article 4 or 8) If a finding of no unmet needs reasonable to meet is made, remaining funds can be spent on roadway construction and maintenance purposes. (Article 8) TDA-LTF funds allocated to the El Dorado Transit program in FY 2011/12 totaled $3.4 million, and typically no TDA funds are allocated to streets and roads. In FY 2012/13, LTF funding is anticipated to decrease to $3.0 million. State Transit Assistance (STA) Funds In addition to LTF funding, the TDA includes a State Transit Assistance (STA) funding mechanism. The sales tax on gasoline is used to reimburse the state coffers for the impacts of the 1/4 cent sales tax used for LTF. Any remaining funds (or spillover ) are available to the counties for local transportation purposes. El Dorado Transit anticipates $1.28 million in STA revenues for FY 2012/13. OTHER MISCELLANEOUS REVENUE SOURCES Passenger Revenues Passenger revenues are an important source of revenue. Fares can be very flexible in that they can be reduced for portions of the population (such as seniors and the disabled) that are least able to pay. When the available supply of transit service is exceeded by demand, fares can ration service so those who most need the service (and are thus most willing to pay) are provided with service. El Dorado Hills Needs Assessment and US 50 Corridor Operations Plan LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. Final Report Page 129

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