Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)
Analysis by the California Institute, a Source for Information on California and Federal Policy (Last updated 6/11/98 at 8:00 pm EST)
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On May 22, 1998, Congress passed, (House: 297-86-50 and Senate: 88-5), a six-year reauthorization of the nation's surface transportation laws called TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century).  Both Senators Boxer and Feinstein and 35 House California delegation members voted in support of the conference agreement.  Ten Californians voted against the measure, and eight delegation members did not vote (Roll Call Vote 192).  President Clinton signed TEA-21 into law on June 9th.
Funding.  TEA-21 authorizes over $217 billion in total transportation spending over the fiscal years 1998-2003: almost $170 billion for highways; just under $42 billion for transit; over $1.7 billion for highway safety programs; upwards of $2.9 billion for transportation research; about $644 million for the Motor Safety Carrier program; and approximately $545 for rail and miscellaneous safety programs.  TEA-21 contains "guaranteed spending" provisions which means, under new budget rules, at least $198 billion will be spent on highways and mass transit transportation over the next six years.  The guaranteed spending provisions are intended to ensure that all federal gas tax revenues are used for transportation infrastructure.

Overall, California is expected to contribute about $20 billion in federal transportation taxes over the next six years.  According to Caltrans, California's net return will be close to $20 billion, therefore our contributions will most likely match, if not exceed, our receipts.

California Total.  Under ISTEA (1992-1997) Californians contributed more money in gas taxes to the federal government than it received back in highway funding.  About 86% of California's federal gas taxes were returned to the state.  TEA-21 promises to return at least 90.5% of a state's contributions in federal gas taxes under the highway formula.  Caltrans estimates California will receive about $15.24 billion in total, or about $2.54 billion for highways annually under TEA-21.  The increased funding will result in an approximate $870 million increase in annual federal transportation funding than under ISTEA.

Highway formula funding.  According to the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) and Caltrans' calculations, California is scheduled to receive about 9.19% or $14.3 billion of the total almost $156 billion distributed over six years under the highway funding formula.  The state will get a almost $2.4 billion, on average annually.  California will receive an approximate 45% increase in dollar funding over the previous 1992-97 ISTEA law.  Listed below are the nine programs that compose the highway funding (formula plus a small discretionary program, see below) and California's annual funding levels as calculated by FHWA(6/10/98):
Highway Formula Total (98-03)Funding CA Annual Aver. $ % of Total $
Interstate Maint. /National Highway System $52.38 B $786 M 0.0900
Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) $8.12 B $277.4 M 0.2049
Surface Transportation $33.33 B $535.4 M 0.0964
Metropolitan Planning  $1 B $28.7 M 0.1725
Minimum Guarantee $33.57 B $348.7 M 0.0623
High Priority Projects $9.324 B $145.8 M 0.0938
Appalachian Devt. Highways System $2.250 B n/a n/a
Recreational Trails $270 M $3.1 M 0.0689
Bridge $20.43 B $260.8 M 0.0766
TOTAL HIGHWAY FORMULA $155.7 B $2.385980 B 0.0919

Discretionary Program funding.  California's exact share of the highway programs is not distributed by formula, and therefore is difficult to determine ahead of time.  Most of the funding allocation for these programs is determined by the Secretary of Transportation.  Caltrans estimates California will receive about 8% of the $10 billion available, or about $800 million dollars.  Among other discretionary programs, one California may benefit from is a $700 million National Corridor and Border Infrastructure program.

High Priority Projects.  For a list of California highway projects included in TEA21, please see the attached list of highway projects and transit projects.

Other provisions.  A California ISTEA Task Force identified priority, the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) program will be continued, but participation is limited to California and three other states.  The bill also includes the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA, a program that provides federal credit financing for large, high-cost transportation projects.  Projects like the Alameda Corridor have already used similar, federally-backed credit financing to attract private capital investment in high-cost transportation projects, reducing the need for large amounts of public dollars.  Lake Tahoe is also designated as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Devil's Slide project in San Mateo county made eligible for funding from the Emergency Relief fund, and the I-5, I-905, Alameda Corridor East, and Southwest Passage are designated as high priority corridors under TEA-21.

California Total.  California is expected to receive about 14.2% of the guaranteed funding for transit ($35 B), which Caltrans estimates will be about $4.97 B for 1998-2003, but this does not include money appropriated for discretionary programs and from the general fund.  Better numbers and details should be available after the measure is sign into law.

Specific Projects for fixed guide way new starts, extensions, and buses.  Please see attached list.
The more than $18 billion in funding for the Capital Investments Grants and Loans (the program that funds the listed projects) will be divided 40% to modernize existing systems, 40% for new systems and extensions to existing systems, and 20% for buses and bus related equipment.

Los Angeles MTA. Requires the Los Angeles MTA to consider the neighborhood impact and effect on minority and low-income populations, and capacity to serve transit dependent riders in the East side or Mid City areas when considering alternatives to building subway lines.

Other provisions. TEA21 includes programs that authorized and provide funding to incorporate Magnetic Levitation, High Speed Rail, and Light Density Rail Line Pilot Projects.

Motor Carrier Safety
Grants for Border Infrastructure.  Grants to state and local agencies for improving border commercial motor vehicle safety and compliance, increase public awareness, or employ new technologies .

Transportation Research
University transportation research.  The University of Southern California and California State University at Long Beach together were selected to receive a grant (with required local match) to establish and operate a transportation research center and related research activities.  Funding for the transportation research center will be $600,000 for fiscal years 1998 and 1999, and must compete with other selected universities for $1.5 million in additional funding.

Seismic Research.  The University of California at San Diego will receive a $1 million annual grant (FY99-FY02) to update its earthquake simulation facilities.

Southwest Border.  TEA-21 directs the Department of Transportation to evaluate and identify infrastructure needs along the Southwest Border.

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