Each year, the RTA Board of Directors decides how to distribute state and federal funds to each of the region’s transit agencies. To distribute federal funds, the RTA uses a modified version of the formula used to apportion the funds to each urbanized area. To distribute state funds, the RTA consolidates the funding requests submitted by each transit agency and submits them to the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Funding Allocation Committee must unanimously approve any state or federal funding allocations, and the Board of Directors then approves the allocations by a simple majority vote.

Federal Funding

The Detroit and Ann Arbor Urbanized Areas are considered separate by the federal government, and receive separate apportionments of federal funds. Because AAATA is the only transit agency in the Ann Arbor Urbanized area, they receive 100% of the apportioned funds there.

In the Detroit Urbanized Area, DDOT, SMART, and the People Mover all receive a share of the Detroit Urbanized Area apportionment, and the RTA must decide how to sub-allocate funding to each agency.

Federal Funding Programs

State Funding

The state Comprehensive Transportation Fund (CTF) sets aside a certain amount of the state’s gas tax proceeds to reimburse operating costs of local transit providers, known as Local Bus Operating (LBO) funds. Though state law allows the Legislature to set aside enough funding to cover up to 50% of operating costs for transit agencies in major urban areas and 60% in other areas, there is typically only enough funding to cover about 30-40% of operating expenses at each agency.

The RTA submits a consolidated funding request for all four transit agencies in the region, and then distributes the reimbursement requested by each transit agency. Under PA 387 of 2012, the RTA has “sole authority” in the four-county area to submit LBO funding requests to the state.

2017 Federal Funding Totals

The RTA distributed over $57 million in federal funds in 2017.


Transit AgencySection 5307Section 5310Section 5337Section 5339
People Mover*$401,123$364,439$1,221,304
TOTAL $47,570,107$3,809,908$1,221,304$4,711,851

*As the only fixed-guideway operator in the region, People Mover is eligible for Section 5337 funds.

**RTA receives Section 5310 funds to administer the regional one click-one call program.

2017 State Funding Totals

The RTA distributed over $87.7 million in state LBO funds in 2017.


Transit AgencyLBO funding
People Mover$5,573,609

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