Traveling in California:
Acronyms and Definitions

ACE (Altamont Commuter Express)—A commuter train service providing trips between Stockton and San Jose.

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit District)—A commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

Caltrans (California Department of Transportation)—The state agency responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the state highway system and intercity rail.

CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act)—State law providing certain environmental protections that apply to all transportation projects funded with state funds.

CTC (California Transportation Commission)—A nine-member board appointed by the Governor to oversee and administer state and federal transportation funds and provide oversight on project delivery.

FHWA (Federal Highway Administration)—The federal agency responsible for administering federal highway funds.

FTA (Federal Transit Administration)—The federal agency responsible for administering federal transit funds. As opposed to FHWA funding, most FTA funds are allocated directly to local agencies, rather than Caltrans.

FTIP (Federal Transportation Improvement Program)—A three-year list of all transportation projects proposed for federal transportation funding within the planning area of an MPO.

ITIP (Interregional Transportation Improvement Program)—The portion of the STIP that includes projects selected by Caltrans (25 percent of STIP funds).

HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle lane)—A lane restricted to vehicles with two (and in some cases three) or more occupants to encourage carpooling.

LACMTA (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority)—RTPA for the Los Angeles region.

LTF (Local Transportation Fund)—Fund which receives TDA revenues.

MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization)—A federally required planning body responsible for transportation planning and project selection in the region. In many cases, is the same as the RTPA.

NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act)—Federal environmental law that applies to all projects funded with federal funds or requiring review by a federal agency.

PTA (Public Transportation Account)—The major state transportation account for mass transportation purposes. Revenues include a portion of the sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuels.

RTIP (Regional Transportation Improvement Program)—Share of capital outlay improvement funds controlled by regional agencies (75 percent of STIP funds).

RTP (Regional Transportation Plan)—Federally required 20year plan prepared by metropolitan planning organizations, updated every three years. Includes projections of population growth and travel demand, along with a specific list of proposed projects to be funded.

RTPA (Regional Transportation Planning Agency)—State-designated agency responsible for preparing the RTP, RTIP, and administering certain state and federal funds.

SB 45 (Chapter 622, Statutes of 1997, Kopp)—Senate bill which established the current STIP process and shifted control of decision-making from the state to the regional level.

SHA (State Highway Account)—The major state transportation account for highway purposes. Revenues include the state excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel and truck weight fees.

SHOPP (State Highway Operation and Protection Program)—A four-year capital improvement program for rehabilitation, safety, and operational improvements on state highways.

SIP (State Implementation Plan)—State air quality plan to ensure compliance with state and federal air quality standards. In order to be eligible for federal funding, projects must demonstrate conformity with the SIP.

STA (State Transit Assistance)—State funding program for mass transit operations and capital projects. Current law requires that STA receive 50 percent of PTA revenues.

STIP (State Transportation Improvement Program)—A four-year capital outlay plan that includes the cost and schedule estimates for all transportation projects funded with any amount of state funds. The STIP is approved and adopted by the CTC and is the combined result of the ITIP and the RTIP.

TDA (Transportation Development Act)—State law enacted in 1971 that provided a 0.25 percent sales tax on all retail sales in each county for transit, bicycle, and pedestrian purposes. In nonurban areas, funds may be used for streets and roads under certain conditions.

TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century)—Federal transportation act covering the period from 1998 through 2004. Provides about 40 percent more funding than previous federal act.

U.S. DOT (United States Department of Transportation)—The federal agency that oversees transportation.

VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled)—Common measurement used for tracking demand for driving.

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