As the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA) for Placer County, PCTPA is responsible for the administration of the Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds. TDA funds, which are funded through ¼ percent of the statewide sales tax, are the primary funding source for most transit systems. The administration of TDA funds includes the annual unmet transit needs process, which has three key components: soliciting testimony on unmet transit needs; analyzing needs in accordance to adopted definitions of unmet transit need and reasonable to meet; and adoption of a finding regarding unmet transit needs that may exist for the upcoming fiscal year. These tasks are to be performed in consultation with the Social Service Transportation Advisory Council (SSTAC).
Each year, the PCTPA works with the transit providers and the public to identify any transit needs that are not currently being met. The PCTPA makes a determination as to what needs are reasonable to meet, according to adopted criteria, and then is responsible for ensuring that funds are expended to meet any needs that are found reasonable to meet.
If, based on the adopted definitions, the PCTPA Board finds that there is an unmet transit need that is reasonable to meet, that need must be funded in the next fiscal year before any TDA funds can be spent for street and road purposes.
The adopted definitions of an “unmet transit need” and what is “reasonable to meet” are as follows:
Unmet Transit Need – An unmet transit need is an expressed or identified need, which is not currently being met through the existing system of public transportation services. Unmet transit needs are also those needs required to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Reasonable to Meet – Unmet transit needs may be found to be “reasonable to meet” if all of the following criteria prevail:
- Service, which if implemented or funded, would result in the responsible service meeting the farebox recovery requirement specified in California Code of Regulations Sections 6633.2 and 6633.5, and Public Utilities Code 99268.2, 99268.3, 99268.4, and 99268.5.
- Notwithstanding Criterion 1) above, an exemption to the required farebox recovery requirement is available to the claimant for extension of public transportation services, as defined by California Code of Regulations Section 6633.8, and Public Utilities Code 99268.8.
- Service, which if implemented or funded, would not cause the responsible operator to incur expenditures in excess of the maximum amount of Local Transportation Funds, State Transit Assistance Funds, Federal Transit Administration Funds, and fare revenues and local support, as defined by Sections 6611.2 and 6611.3 of the California Administrative Code, which may be available to the claimant.
- Community support exists for the public subsidy of transit services designed to address the unmet transit need, including but not limited to, support from community groups, community leaders, and community meetings reflecting a commitment to public transit.
- The need should be in conformance with the goals included in the Regional Transportation Plan.
- The need is consistent with the intent of the goals of the adopted Short Range Transit Plan for the applicable jurisdiction.
Each year, usually in October and/or November, PCTPA solicits testimony on unmet transit needs that may exist. The process is advertised in the local newspapers, via press releases and public service announcements, on flyers in buses, in notices to social service agencies, and so on. Testimony may be provided in person at public workshops and/or hearings, by phone, or in writing. The Social Services Transportation Advisory Council (SSTAC) also provides testimony, though a listing of priorities for improvements in the transit system. If you are interested in applying for membership on the SSTAC, you may complete and submit an application.
Once the testimony period is ended, PCTPA staff compiles and analyzes each request. Based on this analysis and input from the SSTAC, staff provides recommendations for findings to the Board. The 2012/13 Unmet Transit Needs process concluded with the approval by the PCTPA Board of the Unmet Transit Needs Analysis and Recommendations Report on February 27, 2013.
The unmet transit needs process accomplishes more than simply meeting a state requirement. It also provides a forum for public input on transit issues, assists transit providers in setting priorities for service improvements or modifications, and assists jurisdictions in budgeting the use of Local Transportation Funds.
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