Budget, California, Transit Funding

Update: Bay Area STA Funds for 2008-09

Last week, we discussed how the finalized state budget decimated State Transit Assistance Funds (STA) funds, and what the result would be for Bay Area transit operators in terms of lost operating revenue. That previous post contained the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s figures on how the remaining STA funds would be distributed between Bay Area transit agencies. However, last Friday, I phoned the Metropolitan Transportation Commission offices to point out that their STA fund distributions contradicted the actual text of the budget legislation. The budget included funding for the first two quarters of FY2008-09, while MTC’s numbers only accounted for the first quarter of funds — which was inaccurate in light of the fact that the Governor decided not to kill the second quarter of STA funds with a line-item veto. In other words, this fiscal year, California’s transit agencies will receive $153 million (from an originally planned $306 million) of STA funds, not just the $76 million that MTC had planned on. Shortly after I called them, I noticed that their analysis of the state budget was taken down off the web. But now, the updated figures are available, and we find that these are the funding allocations for transit agencies in FY2008-09. As before, the right column of the table represents the lost amount that agencies would have received had the state budget retained the full $306 million of STA money:

Transit Agency/Operator \Delta_{(revised-original)}
AC Transit ($3,595,757)
ACE (Alameda / Santa Clara) ($185,035)
BART ($9,821,723)
Caltrain ($1,869,427)
CCCTA (Contra Costa) ($1,090,849)
ECCTA (Tri Delta Transit) ($598,076)
Golden Gate ($1,493,241)
LAVTA (Wheels) ($424,213)
Marin / Napa / Solano / Sonoma ($2,685,486)
SFMTA (Muni) ($14,277,394)
SamTrans ($2,157,625)
Union City ($143,187)
VTA ($6,079,831)
WestCAT ($235,793)

As before, regional initiatives will also lose money. The Regional Coordination Program will lose $3.9 million, regional paratransit will lose $2.3 million, and the Lifeline Transportation Program will lose $4.3 million.

Had transit operators received the promised $306 million, the Bay Area would have had access to $111,962,885; we now will have access to just $56,799,791. The total loss is around $55 million, not the $83 million that was inaccurately reported in the Chron. Still, any money that we can recoup for operators will be helpful, and hopefully this will buy them a bit more time to think through solutions to the bigger problem of finding new revenue sources to compensate for the loss of STA funds.




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