California Transit Association

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TDA to the Rescue

November 4, 1971

One of the most important pieces of California legislation for transit has been the Mills-Alquist-Deddeh Act (SB 325), commonly known as the Transit Transportation Development Act (TDA). TDA created a Local Transportation Fund derived from a statewide 1/4 cent sales tax allocated by a formula that considered both population and transit revenues in each county.

In its original form, the proposal would have imposed a 1/4-cent sales tax on gasoline. Under the guidance of then Senate President pro Tempore Jim Mills, the measure was reworked to extend the tax to gasoline, but to simultaneously reduce the state sales tax by one-quarter of one percent. It then created the authority for counties to impose a one-quarter of one percent sales tax to replace the one-quarter of the state sales tax that was given up as a result of the imposition of the sales tax on motor vehicle fuel.

“I thought if the state imposes the sales tax and then had special funds for transit, then anytime the state was short on money the legislature would start to take away some of that money to balance the budget,” said Mills in a June 2015 interview with Transit California. “Furthermore, each year an appropriation would have had to be made by the legislature of that money, and appropriations are a year at a time, and I thought that was very unwise for the transit agencies to not know how much they were going to get. It would be greatly preferable to have it as a local tax that will stay at the same level and transit will be able to count on a certain amount of money.”

Visit our Gallery of Leaders to learn more about Sen. Jim Mills and the Transportation Development Act of 1971.


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