National Academies Press: OpenBook

Local and Regional Funding Mechanisms for Public Transportation (2009)

Chapter: Section 1.0 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Section 1.0 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Local and Regional Funding Mechanisms for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14187.
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Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Section 1.0 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Local and Regional Funding Mechanisms for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14187.
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Page 8

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71.1 Project Description TCRP Project H-34, “Local and Regional Funding Mecha- nisms for Public Transportation,” is intended to provide a comprehensive list of local and regional funding sources for public transportation through a review of current liter- ature and data and through interviews with representatives of a broad-based sample of transit agencies throughout the United States. 1.2 Project Purpose The purpose of TCRP Project H-34 is to compile a compre- hensive list of funding sources that are in use or have the prospect of being used at the local and regional level to sup- port public transportation. The project has attempted to move beyond a simple listing of sources by providing information about following: • Key characteristics of sources; • The ways that sources are being used; • The frequency of sources’ use in differing locales and regions, in various types of agencies, and in support of dif- fering service characteristics; • Issues and circumstances in source selection and use; • Advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of source; and • Strategies and steps to be considered in pursuing imple- mentation of new local and regional transit funding sources. The results of the project are intended to serve as an updateable, interactive resource on local and regional transit funding sources as well as a guide to the evaluation and enact- ment of new or expanded funding at the local or regional level. 1.3 Approach The project was carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the research team conducted a literature review of local and regional transit funding sources. From the literature review, a framework was developed to guide collection of information on local and regional funding sources and uses. In the second phase, the research team conducted over 60 interviews with local and regional transit agency managers and others with knowledge of local and regional transit fund- ing sources and successful initiatives. Appendix A lists the transit agencies and others that were interviewed or contacted to ensure as comprehensive a list of funding sources as possi- ble. Appendix B contains the interview guide that was used in the system interviews. 1.4 Organization of the Report This report provides a summary of project findings in two forms. The report is intended to serve not only as a com- pendium of local and regional transit funding sources and characteristics but also as a guide to the evaluation and enact- ment of local and regional transit funding sources. Accom- panying the report is a searchable database, the Local and Regional Funding Database, which provides users with addi- tional detail on local and regional funding at individual tran- sit systems. The organization of this report is the following: Section 2.0 provides a summary of overall, nationwide transit funding and a discussion of definitional issues in distinguishing local, regional, and state funding sources. Section 3.0 describes local and regional transit funding mechanisms in use or currently available in the United States, Canada, and Europe. This section presents a typology that differentiates various funding sources— taxes/fees versus project revenues versus other revenue S E C T I O N 1 . 0 Introduction

streams—in order to provide a useful and consistent way of understanding transit funding alternatives and their usefulness at the local and regional level. Section 4.0 provides additional guidance for evaluating local and regional transit funding mechanisms, includ- ing guidance on the advantages and disadvantages of various sources, provision of criteria that should be con- sidered in selecting local or regional funding sources, and consideration of key contextual issues that are important in establishing a practical base of understand- ing to support local and regional funding alternatives. Section 5.0 highlights the steps that should be taken by transit systems trying to enact new local and regional transit funding mechanisms. These steps are based on the experiences of transit systems around the country that have successfully sought and enacted new or increased sources of funding. Section 6.0 provides a very brief description of the Local and Regional Funding Database and how to use it (for a more in-depth description of how to use the database, please refer to the Local and Regional Funding Database User Manual, available at http://trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp? id=9599). Appendix A lists the transit systems and agencies inter- viewed as part of the project. Appendix B includes the interview guide used with the sys- tems contacted. Appendix C provides observations about the scope and content of the National Transit Database (NTD) and its usefulness and limitations as a resource in a transit sys- tem’s pursuit of local and regional sources of funding. Appendix D briefly describes international experiences with local and regional transit funding. Appendix E provides selected bibliographic material on local and regional transit funding. Appendix F provides a list of local funding measures sup- porting transit in whole or in part that were passed in the period 2000 to 2006. 8

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 129: Local and Regional Funding Mechanisms for Public Transportation explores a series of transit funding mechanisms with a primary focus on traditional tax- and fee-based funding; and common business, activity, and related funding sources. The report includes an online regional funding 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. A user manual for the database is also available online.

Note: The database is a very large file and may take some time to download.

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