Local Public Transportation Projects Receive $97 Million

Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus is among the recipients of recently announced awards from the LCTOP: The agency will receive $433,364 to improve service on lines 15, 16, and 17. Image: Wikimedia
Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus is among the recipients of recently announced awards from the LCTOP: The agency will receive $433,364 to improve service on lines 15, 16, and 17. Image: Wikimedia

California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program just announced grants to 152 local transportation projects throughout the state. The awards include programs to provide free and reduced fares, expand transit service, purchase zero-emission buses, and improve bus stops.

The Low Carbon Transit Program is one of several programs aimed at helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It provides money for both operations and capital programs to help transit agencies improve services and options for getting around. These relatively small projects—a list can be found here—can help encourage people to take transit, as well as make it an even cleaner alternative to other modes.

One of the program’s priorities is to serve communities that have suffered from a lack of investment in the past. More than 130 of these projects claim to benefit disadvantaged communities in some way, either by serving or being located in one.

The size of these awards is pretty small compared to the amounts currently going out to highway projects around the state. And this list highlights the piecemeal way California approaches transit—as an add-on that exists to meet a few travel needs rather than as an integral part of the state’s transportation system that almost everyone can access and count on.

It’s only a start.

A few examples of the awards:

  • $33,038 for reduced fares for “targeted populations” using Yosemite Area Regional Transportation for access to sites such as Yosemite National Park
  • $696,048 for Sunline Transit Agency to offer free transit for college students in the Coachella Valley
  • $2 million for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) to offer free tickets to “targeted populations” including youth and seniors
  • $350,000 to Fresno Department of Transportation to expand weekday night service and increase frequency on weekends
  • $294,816 for a new commuter bus between Chico and Sacramento
  • $433,364 for Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus to improve service on several routes connecting to the Expo Light Rail
  • $3.9 million to the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority to buy zero-emission battery electric buses and build charging infrastructure
  • $95,635 for the Madera County Transportation Commission to install bus shelters within the City of Madera, the County of Madera, and the City of Chowchilla
  • $173,830 to the City of Torrance to install solar lighting at bus stops in targeted communities
  • $138,222 to offer discounted Amtrak tickets between Ventura and Santa Barbara


Screen Shot 2022-06-01 at 5.19.16 PM

California’s Gann Limit Hamstrings Needed Transit Investments

Since January, TransForm has been working with transit riders and advocacy groups across the state to meet with legislators and the governor’s office to express the urgent need for transit operations funding. Operations dollars support transit service, as well as operator salaries and fare reduction programs — the elements of frequent, reliable, and affordable transit. […]

Brown’s Budget Proposal Weak on Sustainable Transportation

Governor Jerry Brown announced his proposed state budget for 2016-17 in Sacramento yesterday. His transportation funding proposals include a few new ideas, but the budget represents precious little change to the status quo. The budget does not reflect any profound rethinking of how we fund transportation, a disappointment for those hoping for change after the recent climate change […]