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Key Terms

Appropriation - An act by Congress or the State Legislature to provide budgeted funds to programs that have been previously authorized by other legislation. (The amount of funding appropriated may be less than what was authorized.)

Authorization - An act by Congress that creates the policy and structure of a program including formulas and guidelines for awarding funds. Authorizing legislation (such as SAFETEA-LU) may set an upper limit on program spending or may be open ended. Revenues to be spent under an authorization must be appropriated annually by separate legislation.

Capital Funds - Funding dedicated to new projects or existing projects to improve or replace physical elements of the transportation system (as opposed to operational elements). This includes new rail systems, freeway widening, transit station improvements and construction, new bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and other construction projects. (see Operating/Operational Funds

CMAQ - Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: A pot of federal money for projects and activities that reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Conformity - This is the process by which transportation plans and spending programs are reviewed for consistency with federal clean air requirements; transportation projects collectively must not worsen air quality. Conformity is determined by the USDOT and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) such as SCAG, and is based on whether transportation plans and programs meet the provisions of the State Implementation Plan.

E-76 - Formally called an "Authorization to Proceed," an E-76 is a Caltrans authorization to proceed with a project, and is a federal obligation of the project funds. A separate E-76 request is required for each of the preliminary engineering, right of way, utility relocation, and construction phases if federal funds are to be used in the respective phase of work.

Expenditure - Any allowable expense associated with a project or program.

Financial Constraint - The TIP is said to be "financially constrained," which means that for projects listed in the TIP, funding is available and has been committed by the appropriate agencies. If the implementation of a project depends on the development of a new funding source (e.g. a new sales or fuel tax measure) the project will not be included in the TIP until the new funding source has actually been developed and the funds have been officially committed to the project.

(F)FY - (Federal) Fiscal Year : Annual schedule for keeping financial records and for budgeting transportation funds. California FY : July 1 - June 30; FFY : Oct. 1 - Sept. 30

IIP - Interregional Improvement Program : A state funding category for intercity rail, interregional road and interregional rail expansion projects outside urban areas, and projects of statewide significance. IIP moneys become part of a funding program known as the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program. (see ITIP)

Intermodal - Refers to connections between transportation modes (e.g. Park & Ride connects driving and rail).

ISTEA - Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act : Federal transportation legislation that expired in 1997. ISTEA emphasized the diversity and balance of modes, as well as the preservation of existing systems before construction of new facilities. Much of ISTEA's program structure is carried forward in new federal legislation (see TEA 21, SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21).

ITIP - Interregional Transportation Improvement Program :  A Caltrans-nominated and CTC-approved listing of interregional highway and rail projects that utilizes 25% of the funds programmed in the STIP (the other 75% are programmed as RIP funds).

MAP-21 - Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 st Century Act : A funding and authorization bill that replaces SAFETEA-LU. The $105 billion, two-year bill doesn't significantly change total funding from SAFETEA-LU. Rather, it includes significant reforms including a reformed environmental review process to expedite project development and the elimination of earmarks.

MPO - Metropolitan Planning Organization : A federally required planning body responsible for transportation planning and project selection in its region. The governor designates an MPO to every urbanized area with a population of over 50,000 people. SCAG is the MPO for a large part of the Southern California region.

Model - An analytical tool (often mathematical) used by transportation planners to make forecasts of the effects on air, water, and land quality that economic activity and travel activity may have.

Multimodal - Refers to systems in which multiple modes of transportation available. A multimodal approach to transportation planning focuses on the most efficient way of moving people or goods from place to place by train, bus, bicycle, foot, automobile, airplane, truck, boat, or in the case of software, data cables.

North/South (40/60) Split - A requirement in state law that governs how STIP funds are divided within California; 40% of the funds go to the North and 60% go to the South.

Obligation - The government's legal commitment to reimburse the federal share of an approved project's eligible costs. Agencies must obligate their federal funds prior to beginning the project. Failure to do so results in the agency not getting reimbursed.

Operating/Operational Funds - Moneys spent on general day-to-day costs of running transportation systems. For transit, costs include fuel, salaries and replacement parts; for roads, operating costs involve maintaining pavement, filling potholes, paying workers' salaries, etc. (see Capital Funds)


1. Verb: to assign funds to a project that has been approved by SCAG, the state or some other agency

2. Noun: a system of funding the implementation of transportation projects and policies (e.g. the State Transportation Improvement Program (see STIP) or Federal Transportation Improvement Program (see FTIP) )

RIP - Regional Improvement Program : State funding category that can be used for a variety of projects including freeways, carpool lanes, rail lines, transit stations and road rehabilitation. RIP funds become part of a funding program known as the Transportation Improvement Program (see TIP) .

RTIP - Regional Transportation Improvement Program : State funding program. Regional Transportation Planning Agencies prepare the RTIP consistent with the Regional Transportation Plan (see RTP) to reflect priorities identified by counties, project sponsors and members of the public. The CTC must approve or reject the RTIP list in its entirety. Once the CTC approves an RTIP, it is combined with those from other regions to make up 75% of the funds in the STIP.

RTP - Regional Transportation Plan : The blueprint to guide the region's transportation development for a 20-year period. In Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, and Imperial Counties, the RTP is prepared by SCAG. The plan is updated every two years and is based on projections of the economy, population growth, and travel demand. State and federal law require the document.

RTPA - Regional Transportation Planning Agency : A state-designated agency responsible for preparing the SRTP, the LRTP, and the RTIP, administering state funds, and other tasks. Metro is the RTPA for Los Angeles County.

SAFETEA-LU - Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users : SAFETEA-LU authorized the federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 5-year period of 2005-2009.

SCAG - Southern California Association of Governments : The metropolitan planning organization for six counties in the Southern California region.

SHOPP - State Highway Operations and Protection Program : state funding category used by Caltrans to maintain and operate state highways

STIP - State Transportation Improvement Program : a multi-year capital improvement program of transportation projects, funded with revenues from a wide range of sources. STIP programming generally occurs every two years.

STP - Surface Transportation Program : One of the key funding programs in TEA-21(Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century). STP monies are ''flexible,'' meaning they can be spent on mass transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities as well as on roads and highways.

TCM - Transportation Control Measure : A strategy to reduce driving or smooth traffic flows for the purpose of reducing auto emissions and resulting air pollution. Required by the Federal Clean Air Act, TCMs for the Los Angeles area are developed by Metro. Examples of TCMs include carpool lanes (HOV lanes), new or increased transit services, ridesharing services to get people into carpools and vanpools, bicycle programs, and flexible work schedules.

TEA - Transportation Enhancement Activities : projects that enhance the compatibility of transportation facilities with their surroundings. 10% of STP monies must be set aside for TEA. Examples of TEA projects include bicycle and pedestrian paths, restoration of rail depots or other historic transportation facilities, acquisition of scenic or open space lands next to travel corridors, and murals or other public art projects. (see Transit Enhancements.)

TEA-21 - Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century : Passed by Congress in May 1998, this federal transportation legislation retains and expands many of the programs created in 1991 under ISTEA. Reauthorized federal surface transportation programs for six years (1998-2003), and significantly increased overall funding for transportation.

TIP - Transportation Improvement Program : A program that includes a listing of all transportation-related projects that require federal funding or other approval by the federal transportation agencies of USDOT (FHWA, FTA). The FTIP also lists non-federal, 'regionally significant' projects for informational and air quality modeling purposes.

Transit Enhancements (-TE) - Transit funding program designed to enhance the travel experience for public transit riders. Funded by federal Section 5307 formula funds, eligible projects include bus shelters, increased access by persons with disabilities, public art, rehabilitation and renovation of historic transit facilities and vehicles, landscaping, and bicycle and pedestrian access.