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Securing essential transit funding

Fully funded, efficient, and effective public transit systems operating in a balanced transportation network are essential to meeting California’s environmental, mobility, and equity objectives.  

Since our establishment in 1965, the Association has, with guidance from our Executive Committee and State and Federal Legislative Committees, spearheaded efforts to secure new funding to maintain existing transit infrastructure, improve transit service, and deliver transformative capital projects that connect us. Through these efforts, the Association has consistently delivered successful outcomes for California transit agencies and the communities they serve – from the enactment of the foundational Transportation Development Act (1971) and Senate Bill 1 (2017) to helping secure $10 billion in federal pandemic relief funds and the passage of the historic $8 billion state transportation funding package in 2022. What’s more, when transit funding is threatened – with cuts or redirection – the Association steps up to protect these vital resources.  

To learn more about our ongoing work, view our 2024 Objectives below.

The Association’s objectives for transit funding are established by our Executive Committee and State and Federal Legislative Committees through the adoption of our annual legislative program.  

As outlined in our 2024 State Legislative Program and 2024 Federal Legislative Program, the Association’s current objectives for transit funding include:  

  • Transit Funding and Rebuilding Ridership: Protect existing transit capital and operations funding and continue to pursue additional dedicated, formula funding for transit and rail agency operations, as well as resources to return riders to public transportation systems.
  • Transit Transformation Task Force: Work with CalSTA, state agencies, transit agencies, regional partners, legislative committee staff, and other stakeholders in the Transit Transformation Task Force established by SB 125.
  • Zero-Emission Transit: Monitor implementation of the Innovative Clean Transit regulation, the Commercial Harbor Craft regulation, the In-Use Locomotive regulation, and Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, and work to reduce the costs associated with deploying ZEVs, including pursuing dedicated funding for zero-emission transit vehicle deployment and supportive infrastructure.
  • Prioritizing Electricity for Transit Agencies: Pursue legislation, as necessary, to ensure priority access to electricity for transit agencies during grid disruptions.
  • Yield Signs on Transit Buses: Pursue legislation to authorize transit agencies to equip transit buses with a yield-to-bus sign affixed on the left rear of the bus to ease reentry into traffic after making scheduled stops.
  • Protecting Transit Workers and Riders: Pursue legislation to protect transit employees from assault and battery. Continue to work with the Transit Operator and Rider Safety Subcommittee to identify additional policy changes and best practices to protect transit workers and riders.
  • Homelessness: Monitor implementation of AB 1377 (Friedman). Continue to work with the Transit Operator and Rider Safety Subcommittee identify additional policy changes and best practices to address homelessness on California transit systems.
  • Cap & Trade Funding: Pursue additional dedicated funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).
  • Driver Testing: Work to improve driver testing, certification, and licensing timeframes.


  • Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013: The Association will continue to monitor the ongoing litigation related to implementation of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, which is currently pending with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and will engage, as appropriate, the Biden Administration and the United States Congress to ensure funding to California transit agencies remains unimpeded.
  • Transportation Appropriations: The Association will continue to support a minimum appropriation level for federal surface transportation programs equal to, at least, authorized spending levels, and advocate for the highest possible levels of funding for individual highway, rail, project finance, innovation, safety, and transit programs.
  • Transit Funding Needs: The Association will continue to raise awareness of the ongoing capital and operations funding needs of California transit agencies to the Biden Administration and the United States Congress. If the United States Congress begins to consider the creation of new funding streams to support transit operations, the Association will engage in advocacy that is informed by principles developed by the Federal Legislative Committee. The Association will advocate to ensure that any new funding stream and allocation methodology for future funding advantages California transit agencies to the maximum extent possible.
  • IIJA Implementation: The Association will continue to monitor and respond to federal rulemakings and notices to ensure that new programs and new requirements are implementable by California’s transit and rail agencies and to ensure that California’s transit and rail agencies are well-positioned to receive discretionary grant awards.
  • IIJA Reauthorization: The Association will begin to develop an IIJA reauthorization platform. Consistent with prior reauthorizations, the Association will prioritize maintaining funding for existing transit and flexible highway formulas (that can fund transit) at levels approved under the IIJA, including ensuring California operators do not see cuts in programs that were funded through advance appropriations. Further, the Association will refine priorities related to funding for transit modernization and expansion and policy revisions needed to ensure operators are able to expend federal funds efficiently and effectively.
  • IRA Implementation: The Association will respond to federal rulemakings and notices and pursue amendments, as necessary, to ensure that new programs allow transit agencies to apply and benefit California transit projects. As new programs will be overseen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Association will work to develop new relationships at USEPA.
  • Climate Resiliency: The Association will monitor, where appropriate, support legislation and appropriations that seek to provide funding, policy direction, or other methods of providing climate resiliency to transit agencies.
  • Spare Ratios: The Association will work with the Federal Transit Administration or, if necessary, United States Congress to ensure flexibility in the application of its spare ratio requirements to zeroemission transit buses and to address temporary reductions in transit service.
  • New Mobility: The Association will continue to engage state and federal decisionmakers to ensure the priorities of our transit agency and original equipment manufacturer members are included in federal policies related to mobility on demand, automated and connected vehicles, and infrastructure.

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