The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 19-01 [Pending]

Legal Issues Regarding Multijurisdictional Transit Agencies
[ TCRP J-05 (Legal Aspects of Transit and Intermodal Transportation Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith



The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal research reports sponsored by this project are published in TCRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series in electronic format. Publications are made available to some libraries and to approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.




In a world of increasing interdependence and a more mobile society, the transportation needs of transit riders are not limited by the geographical boundaries of their city, county or other regional service area. 


It is widely understood that multijurisdictional agreements among transit agencies and other governmental entities can provide a more balanced and efficient framework for cooperation among the various governmental entities. Transit agencies, and local and regional governments have been actively involved in developing agreements that may be used to contract with other governments and agencies, including other transit agencies, to provide funding and/or some type of service.


Multijurisdictional transit agreements related to funding and service raise a multitude of political, fiscal, and legal issues. The complexity of these issues frequently pose an unnecessary barrier to the growth of transit ridership. 


Research is needed to enable stakeholders such as attorneys, local governments, local and regional transit agencies, and states to identify legal issues and decisions that must be addressed regarding multijurisdictional agreements related to funding and/or service. 




The objective of this research is to produce a legal research digest that provides guidance to stakeholders on the legal issues and decisions that need to be addressed when considering or negotiating multijurisdictional agreements relating to funding and service. 


At a minimum, the digest should address the following topics:

  • Legal authorities and frameworks governing various aspects of intergovernmental funding and service, including the types of agreements available to state, regional and local transit agencies, and specific federal and state laws that may apply; 
  • Common, transit-relevant legal issues that arise when either funding or service agreements of this type are considered;
  • Specific examples of multijurisdictional legal issues encountered  among stakeholders, including local governments and regional transit agencies and how those issues were resolved;
  • Samples of successful provisions from these types of agreements that address issues related to funding and service; and
  • Interview results from representatives of interjurisdictional transit agencies that have addressed these types of multijurisdictional issues, including lessons learned and best practices.

 Subtopics within this research should include but are not limited to:

  • How cost allocation has been addressed in these types of  service related agreements;
  • Implementation of these types of agreements; and
  • Policing and operation within multiple jurisdictions and/or outside of service territories.

This research is intended to update and complement TCRP Legal Research Digest 42: Transit Agency Intergovernmental Agreements: Common Issues and Solutions that addresses transit-related issues with the potential to require intensive and time-consuming negotiations related to the development of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) and memoranda of understandings (MOUs).



This research will be conducted in four tasks pursuant to a firm fixed price agreement.


The tasks will be as follows:


Task 1. Research plan and detailed report outline. The consultant will conduct background research and collect relevant material. Based on the initial but complete review of the source material, consultant will propose a detailed report outline. The outline should be at least 8 to12 pages, include a proposed survey if one is to be used, and contain sufficient detail to inform the TCRP project panel of what a 75- to 100-page report will contain. This outline should also contain the estimated pagination for each proposed section and/or subsection. This material will be submitted to TCRP for consideration and approval.


Task 2. After approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research, and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.


Task 3. Draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by TCRP).


Task 4. Revise report as necessary. The consultant should estimate that two revisions will be necessary. One revision may be required after review by the TCRP staff and members of a select subcommittee. Additional revisions may be required after the full committee has reviewed the report.




To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4818