Transportation Development Act (TDA) & State Transit Assistance (STA)
Very small sales tax and taxes on diesel fuel help support transit systems in California.
Transportation Development Act (TDA)
The Transportation Development Act (TDA) has long been a cornerstone of state transit funding.
TDA funding allows each county to establish a quarter-cent sales tax to finance a wide variety of transportation projects, including:
- Transit operations
- Bus and rail projects
- Special transit services for disabled riders
- Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
- Transportation planning
Since the early 1970s, a quarter of every cent of the general sales tax funds transportation in California. Each county receives the funds generated by the county. These funds are primarily used to support transit operations. This funding has not kept pace with rising costs of transportation projects and many counties have approved additional sales tax measures.
State Transit Assistance (STA)
State Transit Assistance (STA) funds are generated by a sales tax on fuel and diesel fuel. The amount of money available for transit agencies varies from year to year based on the ups and downs of diesel prices. The State splits the STA program into two components:
- Population-based funds: MTC receives STA based on our share of the population. The use of these funds is governed by MTC Resolution 4321, which established a STA County Block Grant Program. With this program, the nine Bay Area County Transportation Agencies determine how to invest the funds in public transit services/projects.
- Revenue-based funds: The state allocates funds to transit operators based on their revenue as defined by PUC 99314 (b).
Operators have full discretion over the use of TDA and the STA revenue-based funds apportioned to them. Funds may be used by transit agencies for both capital projects and transit operations. For most smaller transit agencies, TDA and STA are their main sources of operating funds.
The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, Senate Bill (SB) 1, added a third category of STA funds: State of Good Repair. These funds are to be used for eligible transit maintenance, rehabilitation and capital projects. See more information on the Caltrans State of Good Repair program overview.
TDA Program Management Team
Every year, MTC prepares a Fund Estimate to estimate how much funding will be available through TDA, STA, the AB 1107 sales tax and some other sources.
Transit operators submit allocation requests for TDA and STA funds by submitting an application for funds. MTC is responsible for allocating and disbursing funds. For more information, go to the Allocation Requests and Audits page.
MTC is required each year to recommend productivity improvements to Bay Area transit operators. The Commission does this through its annual Productivity Improvement Program (PIP). Transit agencies are required to make a reasonable effort to implement their projects in the PIP in order to receive TDA and STA funds.