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Funding Overview


As the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA) for Santa Cruz County, the Regional Transportation Commission makes decisions and sets priorities for the expenditure of certain local, state and federal transportation funds for public transit, rail, local street and road, highway, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities.

Long range planning for transportation funding is done through the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Projects the RTC selects to receive state or federal funds are listed in the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). Projects and programs implemented by the RTC are included in the agency Budget and Work Program.

The RTC has historically distributed $5-10 million per year for capital projects that repair local roads, build new bicycle and walking facilities, improve transit service, improve traffic flow on local roads and state highways.

How is Transportation Funded?

Funding for transportation projects comes from a few main sources:

  • Per Gallon Gas Taxes (State & Federal)
  • Sales Taxes (both on diesel, as well as other goods/services)
  • DMV Fees

New and Local Funds for our Transportation System
For decades, transportation funding levels have not kept pace with costs to support the transportation needs of the community.  Traditional funding sources, raise less than half of what is required to implement all of the projects necessary to reduce congestion, improve safety, expand mobility, and maintain the existing transportation system. Making matters worse, state and federal funds have been highly unreliable, and waiting for those funds to solve the problem equates to doing nothing. Highways and local roads are regularly backed up.  Local jurisdictions have not been able to keep up with local streets and roads maintenance needs and roads continue to decay. Buses need to be replaced and gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian networks exist.

Measure D logoFortunately help is on the way!
In November 2016, Santa Cruz County voters approved Measure D to address some of the priorities that have been identified by the community.

In April 2017, the state legislature approved Senate Bill 1, stabilizing and increasing state funding to maintain local roads, highways, and transit systems; build more walkways and bicycle lanes, reduce congestion, and improve goods movement.

RTC Funding Programs

The RTC distributes, or is responsible for selecting projects to receive, funds from the following programs:

  1. Measure D
  2. Transportation Development Act (TDA) – dedicated to public transit, paratransit for seniors and people with disabilities, and bike and pedestrian projects
  3. Senate Bill 1 State Transit Assistance (STA) and State of Good Repair funds for transit and paratransit
  4. Surface Transportation Block Grant/Regional Surface Transportation Program Exchange (STBG/RSTP)
  5. State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
  6. Senate Bill 1 Local Partnership Program formula funds (LPP)
  7. Cap-and-Trade Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP)
  8. Department of Motor Vehicles Fees – dedicated to Freeway Service Patrol, Call Boxes and other traveler aid services

RTC Projects/Programs

Where Does the Money Come From?

As noted in above, funding for transportation projects in Santa Cruz County come from a few main sources:

  • Per Gallon Gas Taxes (State & Federal)
  • Sales Taxes (both on diesel, as well as other goods/services)
  • DMV Fees

The money generated through these taxes and fees are then divided into hundreds of funding programs established by voters and/or state and federal statutes.

RTC Funding Programs

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