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October 17, 2014

Report highlights regional transit governance systems

In October 2014, the Eno Center for Transportation, in partnership with TransitCenter, Inc., released "Getting to the Route of It: the Role of Governance in Regional Transit."  The report profiles the governance and funding of transit systems in six major metropolitan areas --- Chicago, Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area --- and discusses how governance structures affect agencies' ability to improve service, promote mobility, and innovate.  The analysis is largely based on numerous interviews conducted with key stakeholders in each region.  

The report and case studies identify several issues, including the level of state involvement in transit, the need for balanced representation on agency boards, the tradeoffs of consolidated vs. decentralized agency structures, and the potential role of metropolitan planning organizations as a venue to coordinate transit services.  Further, the report identifies the benefits of dedicated, independent sources of funding for transit, as well as the importance of performance-based programming decisions.

GO TO 2040 calls on the region to increase its commitment to public transit.  To help clarify this recommendation, the plan includes implementation actions to develop new sources of dedicated funding for the transit system and to strengthen the Regional Transportation Authority's (RTA) financial oversight.  The plan also calls on CMAP, the RTA, and the three service boards to improve evaluation measures and decision-making processes.