Local Transportation Fund
These funds are derived from a one-fourth cent sales tax, collected by the State and returned to the county of origin. Consistent with TDA regulations, administrative costs of the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA), or Lake APC, must be covered first from the revenues collected, with two percent of remaining funds that may be set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects. While an “appropriate and reasonable” amount can be used to supplement transportation planning activities as needed, most of the remaining revenues are normally made available to fund the region’s transit system (administration, operations and capital). A large portion of funding for transit programs in California is provided by the Transportation Development Act (TDA) through the Local Transportation Fund (LTF).
City of Lakeport – Measure Z/Measure I Funds
In November 2016, Measure Z was passed by voters in the City of Lakeport calling for a one-cent sales tax for use on public safety and road/infrastructure maintenance needs. The tax went into effect on April 1, 2017, and is estimated to generate approximately $1.5 million annually. This is on top of an existing half-cent general tax measure (Measure I) that was passed in 2004, also with a partial focus on road maintenance.
City of Clearlake – Measure V Funds
Similarly, Clearlake voters passed Measure V, a one-cent “specific” tax (receiving the required super-majority of at least 66.7%) expected to raise about $1.6 million annually for road maintenance purposes. Further, as a result of it being a specific tax, Clearlake is classified as a “self-help” jurisdiction, qualifying them for additional matching dollars through the recently enacted SB 1 legislation (see above).
Senate Bill 1 Funds
In April 2017, Senate Bill (SB) 1 was passed at the State level, which, through a combination of increased taxes and fees, and is expected to generate several millions of extra dollars annually for road projects in the Lake County region. The funds are collected in different forms with approximately $33 million dollars over the next 10 years through the Highway Users Tax Account (HUTA), $400,000 dollars in each of the next five (two-year) STIP cycles, $400,000 per year in additional State Transit Assistance, additional monies added to the competitive Active Transportation Program as well as the new State of Good Repairs transit program.
State Transportation Improvement Program
The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is the main source of transportation related funding within the Lake County region. At the State level, these funds are divided into two programs. The first is the Regional Improvement Program (RIP), which is funded from a local share of the 75% of State Highway Account (SHA) funds set aside for regional transportation agency programming. The Lake Area Planning Council (APC), as the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA), has authority to decide how to program the Lake County region’s share of RIP funds, subject to STIP eligibility guidelines. To be eligible, projects must be nominated by the regional agency in their biennial Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). The second of the two programs, known as the Interregional Improvement Program (IIP), receives the remaining 25% of SHA funds. Caltrans has the authority to program these funds for projects of interregional significance, subject to nomination within the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP). Projects nominated for both the RTIP and the ITIP must first be included within the RTP.
STIP funds are primarily intended for capital projects. Eligible projects can include the construction or widening of State highways, local roads, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, grade separations, intermodal facilities, public transit improvements (including buses), and safety projects. While these funds may also be used for local road rehabilitation, the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which has authority over the STIP, has not supported the programming of STIP funds for these types of projects in recent cycles.
State Highway Operating and Protection Program
The State Highway Operating and Protection Program (SHOPP) is a four-year program of projects whose purpose focuses on collision reduction, major damage restoration, bridge preservation, roadway preservation, roadside preservation, mobility enhancement and preservation of other transportation facilities related to the State highway system. Non-capacity increasing projects are programmed through the SHOPP, which is adopted simultaneously with the STIP every two years. While the Lake APC is allowed to provide input into SHOPP decisions, the State has sole discretionary authority over the use of SHOPP funds. Funding estimates from this source have been historically difficult to determine based on the Statewide competition for safety related project dollars. With the influx of additional SB 1 funds (see below), SHOPP funding will likewise be increased, although it will remain difficult to predict the impact this will have on regional projects.
Active Transportation Program
The Active Transportation Program was established by Caltrans in recent years to promote projects involving non-motorized modes of transportation such as bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure improvements. The purpose of the Program is to increase the use of active transportation modes by providing a competitive funding source for local projects which further its goals. To date, three cycles worth of grant funds have been awarded Statewide including several successful applications in the Lake County region.
Office of Traffic Safety
The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) program offers grant funding to assist local agencies with bicycle and pedestrian safety and educational programs. Grants are awarded on a statewide, competitive basis and are not available for construction of bikeway facilities.
Regional Surface Transportation Program
Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) funds are federal monies that are exchanged for State funds (in rural areas) and distributed by the State to the APC. The APC determines a methodology to distribute these funds to local agencies, which can be used for a variety of project types including construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, resurfacing, restoration and operational improvements on roads classified above a local or rural minor collector.
Highway Safety Improvement Program
Another source of federal funding is the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The HSIP is a data-driven, competitive grant program intended to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Eligible projects can include infrastructure (i.e. pedestrian and bikeway, traffic calming, pavement marking programs, etc.) or non-infrastructure (i.e. road safety audits, enforcement, data improvements, etc.) projects and must be consistent with the State Highway Safety Plan (SHSP).
High Risk Rural Roads Program
The High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Program is related to the HSIP. It is a competitive grant program to correct or improve hazardous roadway conditions on rural major and minor collectors and rural local roads with “significant safety risks” as defined in the SHSP. Examples of such roads include those with higher than average fatality rates or those correlated with severe crash types (i.e. lack of shoulders, substandard alignment, hazardous roadside, etc.).
Community Development Block Grant
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to local and state governments covering a variety of community development activities. In California, the program is administered by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) with money used in many rural communities to fund projects involving housing, economic development and infrastructure improvement. Jurisdictions within the Lake County region have periodically used local CDBG funds for transportation purposes, including street improvement work, paving and other road related projects.
Tribal Transportation Program
Road maintenance and construction programs are overseen by the BIA and the FHWA through the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP). Formerly known Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program, the goal of the TTP is to provide funding to tribes to address their transportation needs and provide access to basic community services to enhance the quality of life in Indian country. The TTP addresses transportation needs of tribes by providing funds for planning, designing, construction, and maintenance activities. It is funded through the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) with 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act providing $465 million in FY 2016, and annually increasing the amount by $10 million per year through FY 2020. Funds are allocated among tribes on a formula basis based partially on tribal population and road mileage.
FTA Section 5304 – Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants
The Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program (FTA Section 5304) provides a competitive source of funding for planning studies resulting in projects that support “sustainability” within the region. These grants are intended for a wide range of transportation planning purposes that address local, regional and interregional transportation needs and issues. Two grants were awarded to Lake APC through the most recent cycle of this program, both related to transit planning. The first is for a new “Bus Passenger Facilities Plan” that will explore opportunities for improving existing transit infrastructure in the region as well as expanding current informational sources within the LTA system. The second grant is for a “Pedestrian Facility Needs Inventory and Engineered Feasibility Study” involving the identification of needs, priorities and feasibility of improving deficiencies within the pedestrian networks of the region. Included within this study will be analyses of transit stops and ADA accessibility as they relate to pedestrian facilities and the public transit infrastructure.
FTA Section 5310 – Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities
The Section 5310 Program provides for competitive grants focusing on projects assisting seniors and individuals with disabilities. With the 2012 passage of MAP-21, the previous New Freedom Program (FTA Section 5317), used to fund additional services for persons with disabilities, was merged into the Section 5310 program. New projects involving the purchase of vehicles and related equipment are now called “Traditional 5310 Projects” and make up at least 55 percent of the available funding. The remaining 45 percent is to be used for operating assistance and mobility management (or former New Freedom) projects and are referred to as “Expanded 5310 Projects.” Eligible projects must be identified in the region’s “Coordinated Public Transit–Human Services Transportation Plan,” per requirements of the 2015 FAST Act. Lake Transit Authority was recently awarded three Section 5310 grants, which will be used to continue funding its existing Mobility Management Program, provide reimbursement monies for its existing volunteer driver program (including “Pay-Your-Pal”) and allow for increased out-of-County Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services.
FTA Section 5311 – Formula Grants for Rural Areas
Federal transit funding for rural areas with populations of less than 50,000 is currently provided through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5311 program. While the population of Lake County as a whole exceeds 60,000, no individual community within the region meets the definition of “urbanized area,” allowing the region-wide Lake Transit Authority (LTA) to qualify for the funds. The program is administered by Caltrans through a grant application process and provides for a number of activities including capital, planning and operational assistance among others. Since the passage of the 2012 federal transportation bill, MAP-21, funding for the program formerly known as Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC- FTA Section 5316) has been included with the 5311 program. Seventy-five percent of California’s Section 5311 apportionment (Regional Apportionment) is redistributed to Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) based on population, while 15 percent is designated for the Rural Intercity Bus Program (known as 5311(f)). The remaining 10 percent is used for State administrative expenses.