Federal funds boost to help improve North Lake Tahoe area public transit

Published on July 28, 2016

Between $750,000 and $1 million will be allocated annually for North Lake Tahoe area public transit improvements after the Placer County Board of Supervisors July 26 approved a memorandum of understanding with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for the coordination of ongoing transit planning and programming of Federal Transit Administration funds in the Tahoe area.

Placer County and the Tahoe Transportation District are now eligible for additional FTA funds following passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Previously, Placer County received around $420,000 in FTA funds annually for the Tahoe area.

The FAST Act, passed in December 2015, is a federal law that provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. The FAST Act for the first time designates the Tahoe basin as an urbanized area, making it eligible for a larger portion of FTA funds allocated nationwide.

Placer County and TTD are now eligible for two separate FTA grants: one for bus and bus facility programs and another for an urbanized area formula funding program, which makes federal resources available to urbanized areas for operating costs and preventive maintenance.

Placer County will use these additional funds to help implement the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit Systems Plan Update adopted by the board of supervisors in April. That plan lays out a five-year plan to increase service frequency and provide later evening service year-round.

In order to qualify for FTA funds, a metropolitan planning organization for the area - TRPA - was required to enter in an agreement with Placer County to specify the procedures for carrying out transportation planning and programming funds.

TRPA uses service area population and the number of hours and miles of transit service provided to determine how it allocates FTA funds in Placer County.