Without taxing authority of its own, AC Transit is funded by a variety of sources. Bus fares, the most visible source of income, only represent about 14% of system operating revenues. Most other funds come from federal, local, regional and state sources. Our Fiscal Year 2016–2017 operating budget is over $398 million.
National Transit Database Reports
AC Transit’s National Transit Database (NTD) reports for FY 1997-2012 are provided below. These include charts summarizing finance, fleet and service information.
Notes on Revenue Sources
FTA Grants. Funds for urban mass transit are available from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to qualified transit authorities pursuant to procedures set forth in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 was enacted in July 2012 to further several important goals, including safety, state of good repair, performance, and program efficiency. The process of obtaining federal capital assistance is initiated by a recipient designated by state and local officials, and by publicly owned operators of mass transportation services. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), as the designated recipient for the nine county Bay Area, and prepares and submits a regional program of projects to the FTA for approval. Additionally, the District is required to file an application with the FTA regional office to be eligible for any FTA program grant. Federal grants can generally reimburse up to 80% of the cost of capital programs and a portion of operating expenses to improve or continue mass transportation service. Operating assistance from the FTA can include funding for preventive maintenance and for ADA Complimentary Paratransit Service.
Transportation Development Act Funds. AC Transit receives an allocation of sales tax revenue under the California Transportation Development Act of 1971, as amended (TDA), under which receipts from a 0.25% of the state sales tax are reserved for transportation purposes. The Local Transportation Fund (LTF), which was established in 1976, is used for the deposit of TDA revenues collected by the State Board of Equalization within each respective county. The TDA funds in the LTF are apportioned among individual transportation service entities within each county designated as local or regional transportation planning entities. The funds are available for operating assistance in amounts of up to 50% of the operating budget of any individual transportation service entity, after deduction of federal grants and provided that certain TDA criteria are met.
State Transportation Assistance. Public Transportation Account (PTA) revenues accrue from a sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Fifty percent of all PTA revenues go to the State Transit Assistance (STA) Program, which provides funds for public transit operations and for regional transit projects. STA funds are allocated to the region based upon two factors: (1) 50 percent based on population and (2) 50 percent based on fare revenues from the prior fiscal year. The revenue share of the funds goes directly to operators, and the population share of the funds is distributed by MTC to a variety of public transit operation programs.
Infrastructure Bond Funds. In November 2006, the voters in the State approved Proposition 1B entitled the “Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006”. Proposition 1B authorized the sale of $19.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund State and local transportation projects aimed at relieving congestion, improving movement of goods, improving air quality, and enhancing safety and security of the transportation system
AB 1107. The State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1107 in 1977, which provides for a 0.5% sales tax for transit purposes in Alameda County, Contra Costa County and the City and County of San Francisco. Of this tax, 75% of the proceeds are allocated to BART and the remaining 25% is administered by the MTC and is split equally between AC Transit and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Alameda County Measure B. Measure B was approved in 1986 and reauthorized in 2000 and authorizes a 0.5% sales tax throughout Alameda County for transportation purposes. The tax revenues fund a balance of mass transit and road improvements and operation. The priorities of the measure are to expand mass transit, improve highway infrastructure, improve local streets and roads, improve bike and pedestrian safety, and to expand special transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.
Contra Costa County Measure C – Measure J. Contra Costa voters approved measure J in November 2004 as a 25-year extension of the county wide 0.5% retail sales tax. The authorization of Measure J became effective in April 2009 upon the expiration of the prior Measure C and continues through March 2034.
Property Taxes – General Property Tax in Alameda County and Contra Costa County. Taxes are levied by Alameda and Contra Costa Counties each Fiscal Year as of the preceding January 1 on taxable real and personal property situated within the District.
Property Taxes – Measure VV. In November 2008, the voters within Special Transit Service District 1 approved Measure VV, which superseded the Measure BB parcel tax. Measure VV increased the amount of the parcel tax to $96 per year. The tax became effective on July 1, 2009 and terminates on June 30, 2019. Special Transit Service District 1 covers the majority of AC Transit’s service area extends from San Pablo Bay to Hayward, including the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, and the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Sobrante, Kensington, and San Lorenzo.
Regional Measure 2. Approved by voters in March 2004, Regional Measure 2 (RM2) allocates additional bridge toll revenues for various transportation projects and operations within the region that have been determined to reduce congestion or to make improvements to travel in the toll bridge corridors.