Transportation Development Act

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Joshua Pulverman
Senior Specialist
(916) 657-3863

General Direction:

The Mills-Alquist-Deddeh Act (SB 325) was enacted by the California Legislature to improve existing public transportation services and encourage regional transportation coordination. Known as the Transportation Development Act (TDA) of 1971, this law provides funding to be allocated to transit and non-transit related purposes that comply with regional transportation plans.


TDA established two funding sources; the Local Transportation Fund (LTF), and the State Transit Assistance (STA) fund. Providing certain conditions are met, counties with a population under 500,000 (according to the 1970 federal census) may also use the LTF for local streets and roads, construction and maintenance. The STA funding can only be used for transportation planning and mass transportation purposes.


  • LTF - Local Transportation Fund (LTF), is derived from a ¼ cent of the general sales tax collected statewide. The State Board of Equalization, based on sales tax collected in each county, returns the general sales tax revenues to each county’s LTF. Each county then apportions the LTF funds within the country based on population.

  • STA - The STA funds are appropriated by the legislature to the State Controller’s Office (SCO). The SCO then allocates the tax revenue, by formula, to planning agencies and other selected agencies. Statue requires that 50% of STA funds be allocated according to population and 50% be allocated according to transit operator revenues from the prior fiscal year.

Delegated Authority:

Public Utilities Code (PUC) section 99241 authorizes the California Department of Transportation (Department) to administer the statutes and regulations of the Transportation Development Act (TDA). Through a delegated authority, the Division of Rail and Mass Transportation has been given full authority to administer the Transportation Development Act according to PUC 99241 on behalf of the Department.


Unmet Transit Needs Hearing, Finding:

The transportation planning agency shall hold annually at least one public hearing for the purpose of soliciting comments on the unmet transit needs that may exist within the jurisdiction and that might be reasonable to meet by establishing or contracting for new public transportation or specialized transportation services or by expanding existing services. The definition adopted by the transportation-planning agency for the terms "unmet transit needs" and "reasonable to meet" shall be documented by resolution or in the minutes of the agency. The fact that an identified transit need cannot be fully met based on available resources shall not be the sole reason for finding that a transit need is not reasonable to meet. Comparing unmet transit needs with the needs for streets and roads is not allowable in determining transit needs that are reasonable to meet.


  • Required elements in unmet needs documentation
    • Copy of hearing notice & proof of publication
    • Public notice published 30 days before hearing date
    • Resolution or minutes documenting “unmet needs” and “reasonable to meet” definitions
    • Resolution adopting the unmet needs findings

TDA Audits:

Fiscal and performance audits are conducted to ensure program compliance. Fiscal audits are conducted annually, and include transit operator’s expense-to-revenue ratio, known as farebox recovery. Performance audits are conducted every three years and include performance measures that verify the efficiency and effectiveness of planning agencies and transit operators. Both fiscal and performance audits are conducted by entities designated by the transportation planning agency, a county transportation commission, or an operator.


  • Fiscal Audits (Article 3, Section 99245)
    • Conducted every year
    • Submitted to State Controller’s Office & Transportation Planning Agency
  • Performance Audits (Article 3, Section 99246
    • Conducted every three years
    • Only audits required to be sent to Caltrans

Caltrans TDA Statutory Roles:

  • Review/approve the unmet transit needs documentation (PUC 99401.6)
  • Amend codes and regulations to maintain consistency with Statutes (PUC 99241 (a))
  • Review performance audits of transportation planning agencies (PUC 99246 (c))
  • Review schedule of performance audits on operators (PUC 99248)
  • Review/approve Transportation Planning Agency formula for blended fare ratios (PUC 99270.1)
  • Ensure TDA is implemented according to TDA law (PUC 99315 (c))

Statewide Alerts and Other Information

Division Links

Contact Information

Physical Address:

Department of Transportation
Division of Rail and Mass Transportation
1120 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

Please choose one of the following:

(Concerning Rail Ops Support and Equipment)

Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation
MS 74
P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

(Concerning State and Federal Transit Programs)

Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation
MS 39
P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

General Information:

DRMT Phone 916-654-8811
DRMT Fax (Rail) 916-653-4565
DRMT Fax (Mass Trans) 916-654-9366
Amtrak 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)

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