Senate Bill (SB) 277 seeks to provide clarification and increased transparency relative to the process for distribution of transportation funds through the Local Partnership Program (LPP). LPP was designed to provide additional assistance to regions that have passed local sales tax measures or additional fees with those funds dedicated to transportation and transit projects. SB 277 will place in statute that LPP funds be awarded through a formula basis to self-help jurisdictions similar to the State and Local Partnership Program (SLPP) in Proposition 1B.
The authors of SB 1, Senator Jim Beall and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, have stated that their legislative intent was for the LPP in SB 1to be implemented much like the SLPP in Prop 1B. The guidelines established by the CTC for the 2018-2019 funding cycle, with a larger 50% share through competitive grants, was not in line with that legislative intent. According to Senator Beall and Assemblyman Frazier, “The local partnership program is meant to encourage voters that if they agree to tax themselves, the state will provide additional incentive to ensure that local priorities are met. By redirecting these funds back into a state competitive program, there is no guarantee for any voter that the funds would return to their district.”
Ensuring that future LPP funds will be distributed largely on a formula basis will provide a reliable, on-going funding stream that can be used to plan for future needs. Per the SBCTA 2019-2020 State Legislative Platform, the agency supports efforts that “Recognize/reward the investment in the state’s transportation system made by self-help counties and incentivize counties without a voter approved tax measure for transportation to become “self-help” counties.” This bill is firmly in line with this goal.