Caltrans has approved $146 million in Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) funding for 166 local public transportation projects that will improve the sustainability of California’s transportation system. These projects will expand services and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of the funding, approximately $140 million for 158 projects, will benefit disadvantaged communities most affected by climate change.
The LCTOP was created in 2014 to provide assistance for transit agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility, with a priority on serving disadvantaged communities. The projects support new and expanded bus, rail and intermodal transit facilities and include equipment acquisition, fueling and maintenance projects. With this year’s funding process taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, some projects were revised to fit emerging health and safety priorities. For example, some agencies expanded fare-free and dial-a-ride services to increase access and protection for their riders and operators.
The range of projects that will benefit from LCTOP funding include: 55 projects offering free or reduced fares to encourage lifelong transit users; 37 projects providing new and expanded transit service for better access to jobs and educational sites; 26 projects purchasing replacement zero-emission vehicles; and 14 projects purchasing, constructing, or installing passenger amenities at transit stops/stations to encourage increased ridership.
Southern California beneficiaries include:
- City of Los Angeles: $1.37 million for the second operating year of free fares on Los Angeles Department of Transportation Downtown Area Short Hop (LADOT DASH) services for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students K-12 and Los Angeles Community College students.
- San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District: $8.42 million for continued projects to procure zero-emission buses.
- Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority, San Bernardino County: $102,167 to improve bus stops by including ADA compliant access, and providing weather protection and seating accommodations for disabled and senior riders.
- Ventura County Transportation Commission: $550,000 for continuation of the new Cross County Transit Service connecting communities in eastern and western Ventura County. These routes serve low-income populations and connect disadvantaged communities.
- City of Arvin, Kern County: $41,362 to complete its fourth year of roll-over funding to replace diesel buses with zero-emission versions and install charging stations.