Public transportation operating and capital expenses are financed through various funding mechanisms, including federal, state, and local government funds and directly generated funds (e.g., revenues generated by the transit agency, including passenger fare revenues, advertising revenues, and bond proceeds; donations; and taxes levied by the transit agency). Each of these sources of revenue is critical to the effective operation of public transportation services. Over time, the amount of funding needed has increased as the costs of public transportation have increased and as public transportation services have been expanded to include more bus and demand-responsive services and more light- and heavy-rail services. Consequently, public transportation agencies need information on alternative funding mechanisms that can be used to support transit in their communities.
The objectives of this research were to develop (1) a handbook that identifies and describes potential local and regional funding mechanisms for public transportation services in urban and rural areas; discusses the pros and cons of each type of mechanism; and provides broad guidance on implementation and (2) a searchable database resource that allows examination by type of funding mechanism, key characteristics of each mechanism, and characteristics of the public transportation entities. This research did not include passenger fare or advertising revenues.
Status: The research is complete and has been published as TCRP Report 129. The report , which is available through this link, includes an online regional funding database that provides an extensive list of funding sources that are in use or have the prospect of being used at the local and regional level to support public transportation. A user manual for the database is also available online through the link.