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Montebello to Transfer Low Carbon Operations Funds to Foothill Transit

The City of Montebello last month moved to send more than $240,000 of its 2018-19 Low Carbon Transit Operations Program funds to Foothill Transit. Since the funds were not spent within the required timeframe, MBL fell out of compliance and became ineligible to receive future funds. The move brought the City back into compliance. Image: Montebello Bus Lines

Montebello passed an ordinance last month to transfer more than $240,000 in its Low Carbon Transit Operation Program funding to Foothill Transit.

LCTOP funds are grants distributed by Caltrans as part of the California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, especially in disadvantaged communities. Unlike competitive grants, California LCTOP monies are distributed to transit agencies using a formula. Unlike a lot of grants that go to only capital costs, LCTOP can be used for operations and/or capital.

Montebello's LCTOP money was from a 2018-19 funding allocation meant to be used by the city's municipal bus system Montebello Bus Lines to add two cutaway buses. The buses were intended to  "improve ridership, decrease wait times, and create a direct route to the transportation facility on MBL’s intra-city feeder Route 70," according to the city staff report.

After receiving the funds in June 2019, the project failed to start by the six-month deadline and city staff didn't report the delay in its semi annual report as required.

In 2020, current staff learned of MBL’s delinquent semi-annual reports, but the issue wasn't able to be resolved in time, due to staff turnover, per the city's staff report. This caused MBL to become ineligible to receive further LCTOP funding.

In order to put the city back into compliance, staff sought and received permission from California Transportation Commission (CTC) staff to transfer the $242,512 to Foothill Transit for an eligible project - such as purchasing or operating electric buses, which Foothill is known for. This transfer would make the city a contributing sponsor to the Foothill Transit project, while making MBL eligible for future LCTOP funds.

Currently Montebello does not have any LCTOP eligible projects. A scheduled analysis of MBL's structure and transportation services expected to be completed in 2022 is anticipated to provide recommendations for future service improvements.

SBLA San Gabriel Valley coverage, including this article and SGV Connect, is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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