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AB-17 Transit Pass Program: free or reduced-fare transit passes.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 12/05/2016 08:52 PM
AB17:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 17


Introduced by Assembly Member Holden

December 05, 2016


An act to add Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 99100) to Part 11 of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 17, as introduced, Holden. Transit Pass Program: free or reduced-fare transit passes.
Existing law declares that the fostering, continuance, and development of public transportation systems are a matter of statewide concern. Existing law authorizes the Department of Transportation to administer various programs and allocates moneys for various public transportation purposes.
This bill would create the Transit Pass Program to be administered by the department. The bill would require the Controller of the State of California to allocate moneys made available for the program, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to support transit pass programs that provide free or reduced-fare transit passes to specified pupils and students. The bill would require the department to develop guidelines that describe the criteria that eligible transit providers, as defined, are required to use to make available free or reduced-fare transit passes to eligible participants, as defined, and to ensure that moneys from the program are used to expand eligibility or further reduce the cost of a transit pass under existing programs. The bill would exempt the development of those guidelines from the Administrative Procedure Act. The bill would require eligible transit providers and eligible participants to enter into agreements for the distribution of free or reduced-fare transit passes to students.
This bill would require the department to develop performance measures and reporting requirements to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, including an annual update of the number of free or reduced-fare transit passes distributed to pupils and students and whether the program is increasing transit ridership among pupils and students. The bill would set a minimum allocation of $20,000 for each eligible transit provider and would provide for the distribution and allocation of remaining moneys by formula to eligible transit providers.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California landmark laws and regulations for reducing greenhouse gases address one of the most important issues of our time, and dramatically increasing the use of public transportation is a vital component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.
(b) Student transit pass programs have been shown to increase overall transit ridership and fill empty seats on trains and buses, resulting in reduced costs per rider and improved service because of higher demand.
(c) Targeting student transit pass programs to low-income middle school, high school, college, and university students can promote the development of lifelong transit riders and further bolster the capacity and reliability of our transit systems.
(d) Student transit pass programs in this state and across the country have resulted in significant increases in transit ridership and have made it easier and cheaper for students to get to schools and jobs.
(e) Student transit pass programs can help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, petroleum use, and air pollution and improve overall community health.
(f) Student transit pass programs can lower pollution around elementary schools, thereby improving student health.
(g) Schools are often a major generator of traffic in cities and student transit pass programs can help reduce the traffic and parking problems in neighborhoods around schools.
(h) Student transit pass programs can reduce the need for colleges to use campus land for expensive parking structures when this land and money could be better used for educational purposes.
(i) Student transit pass programs have decreased the necessity of, and costs associated with, driving to and from school, thereby reducing the overall cost of school attendance and the parental burdens on working families.
(j) A University of California, Los Angeles, study of 35 college and university student transit pass programs across the United States in 2001 showed ridership increases of 71 to 200 percent after the implementation of these programs.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 99100) is added to Part 11 of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:
CHAPTER  2. Transit Pass Program

99100.
 (a) The Transit Pass Program is hereby created, to be administered by the department.
(b) Moneys made available for the program, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be allocated by the Controller to support transit pass programs that provide free or reduced-fare transit passes to any of the following:
(1) Pupils attending public middle schools or high schools that are eligible for funding under Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.).
(2) Students attending a California community college who qualify for a waiver of student fees pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 76300 of the Education Code.
(3) A student who attends a campus of the California State University or the University of California and who receives an award under the Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant Program established in Chapter 1.7 (commencing with Section 69430) of Part 42 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, the federal Pell Grant Program established under Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1070 et seq.), or both.

99101.
 As used in this chapter, the following terms are defined as follows:
(a) “Controller” means the Controller of the State of California.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Transportation.
(c) “Eligible participant” means a public agency, including, but not limited to, a transit operator, school district, community college district, the California State University, or the University of California.
(d) “Eligible transit provider” means a transportation agency, transportation planning agency, or county transportation commission that is eligible to receive moneys from a state transit assistance fund pursuant to the distribution formula in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 99312 and Sections 99313 and 99314.
(e) “Program” means the Transit Pass Program established pursuant to this chapter.

99102.
 (a) Moneys shall be allocated by the Controller consistent with the requirements of this chapter upon a determination by the department that the expenditures proposed by an eligible transit provider meet both the requirements of this chapter and the guidelines developed pursuant to subdivision (c), and with the amount of funding requested and that is currently available.
(b) (1) Moneys allocated for the program shall be expended to provide low- or no-cost public transit passes to pupils and students, as specified in Section 99100, through programs that support new or existing transit pass programs.
(2) An eligible transit provider may consider granting priority to an application from an eligible participant with an existing, successful transit pass program, if the eligible participant can demonstrate that the additional moneys will further reduce the cost of the transit pass or expand program eligibility.
(c) (1) The department shall develop guidelines that describe the criteria that eligible transit providers shall use to make available free or reduced-fare transit passes to eligible participants. The Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) shall not apply to the development of the guidelines for the program established pursuant to this chapter.
(2) The guidelines shall ensure that moneys from the program are used to expand eligibility or further reduce the cost of a transit pass under existing programs.
(3) The department shall develop performance measures and reporting requirements to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, including an annual update of the number of free or reduced-fare transit passes distributed to pupils and students and whether the program is increasing transit ridership among pupils and students.
(d) Eligible transit providers and eligible participants shall enter into agreements pursuant to the guidelines developed pursuant to subdivision (c) to ensure that free or reduced-fare transit passes are distributed to pupils and students.

99103.
 For the purposes of determining an eligible transit provider’s eligibility for moneys distributed to a transportation planning agency pursuant to the distribution formula in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 99312 and Sections 99313 and 99314, free or reduced-fare transit passes made available pursuant to the program shall be calculated at their full retail value.

99104.
 (a) Each eligible transit provider shall receive twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) from the program.
(b) After the initial twenty-thousand-dollar ($20,000) amount is allocated, the remaining program moneys shall be allocated to eligible transit providers pursuant to the distribution formula in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 99312 and Sections 99313 and 99314.
(c) Any moneys allocated during a fiscal year not distributed pursuant to subdivisions (a) or (b) shall be added to the allocation for the following fiscal year to be distributed pursuant to this section.