The Transportation Agency for Monterey County is responsible for funding public transit service operated by Monterey-Salinas Transit. Each year, the Agency allocates California Transportation Development Act funds to MST. As part of this process, the Agency holds public hearings on Unmet Transit Needs in Monterey County to identify needs that are reasonable to meet prior to allocating Local Transportation Funds.
The Transportation Development Act (TDA) established two designated fund sources for public transit: the Local Transportation Fund and the State Transit Assistance fund. The Transportation Agency serves as the designated administrator for these funds in Monterey County. The TDA Claim form and Administrative Guidelines can be downloaded here.
Local Transportation Fund
The Local Transportation Fund is generated through a quarter of a percent of the general sales tax collected in the County, which is returned to the County by the California State Board of Equalization for allocation by the Transportation Agency prior to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. Each February, the Agency prepares an estimate of the funds it expects to be available in the coming fiscal year and apportions funds to eligible uses pursuant to state law as follows:
- Transportation Agency Administration and Planning;
- Bicycle & pedestrian projects through the Transportation Development Act 2% program; and
- Public transit by jurisdiction, based on population as reported by the Department of Finance. As members of the countywide MST District, each city in Monterey County has its fund apportionment allocated to MST. The Agency allocates funds apportioned to the County of Monterey based on the unincorporated population within ¾ mile of MST routes, and for additional Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant RIDES service within 1 mile of those routes. MST is able to claim any remaining funds apportioned to the County for public transit service operations countywide as an unmet transit need.
State Transit Assistance
State Transit Assistance is generated through the statewide sales tax on diesel fuel, and is apportioned by the California State Controller annually for public transit based on two formulas:
- Funds are apportioned to the Transportation Agency for allocation to operators based on County population; and
- Funds are apportioned directly to transit operators based on the ratio the operator’s fare revenues to the total fare revenues collected statewide.
The Transportation Agency allocates all available State Transit Assistance to MST, which is the sole public transit operator in Monterey County and the only agency that is eligible to receive these funds. Pursuant to Senate Bill 508, transit operators must undergo efficiency standards calculation to determine how much State Transit Assistance funds can be used for operations and capital purposes.
SB1 State of Good Repair Program
The SB1 State of Good Repair Program provides approximately $105M statewide of new funding annually for transit maintenance, rehabilitation, and capital projects. The Transportation Agency is responsible for allocating State of Good Repair Program funds and submitting an annual list of projects proposed to Caltrans. The Agency must submit the annual project list to Caltrans by September 1 of each year. To program the annual allocation of State of Good Repair funds, the Agency must receive applications for funds by July 31 of each year.
Unmet Public Transit Needs
The Transportation Agency annually seeks public comments on unmet transit needs in Monterey County. Prior to allocating Local Transportation Funds, the Agency must provide for a public hearing and outreach to solicit comments on public transit services needed in the community.
Social Services Transportation Advisory Council
MST’s Mobility Advisory Committee serves as the Social Services Transportation Advisory Council. The Mobility Advisory Committee advises the Transportation Agency on its annual determination of unmet transit needs in Monterey County, reviews and provides input on specialized transportation planning studies related to public transit and social services transportation, and advocates on behalf of the elderly, persons with disabilities, and persons of low income regarding transportation issues on public transit services needed in the community.
Federal Transit Administration Grant Programs
The Federal Transit Administration offers a variety of operating and capital assistance grants for public transit. The Agency assists applicants in this process and is responsible for accepting and scoring Federal Transit Administration grant program applications.
Aaron Hernandez is the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Bus Transit Program coordinator. If you have any questions, you can reach him at (831) 775-4412, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monterey-Salinas Transit: http://www.mst.org/
Caltrans TDA Website: https://dot.ca.gov/programs/rail-and-mass-transportation/transportation-development-act
Caltrans FTA 5310 Website: https://dot.ca.gov/programs/rail-and-mass-transportation/enhanced-mobility-of-seniors-and-individuals-with-disabilities-program-fta-5310