Public transit is a key tool to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to combat climate change; improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers; and expand accessibility and mobility for all. However, we can only realize this potential by making sufficient investments to provide transit service levels that attract and retain greater ridership. To help with this needed investment, a handful of local governments have turned to transportation utility fees (TUFs), primarily collected as a monthly charge on customers' utility bills or property tax bills. While more widely used to support street maintenance, this study identifies six case studies where TUF revenues have been used to support transit or active transportation modes. This study closely examines the legal enabling environment for TUFs, the fee calculations methodology, the eligible uses, and other critical details about how these fees work. This study concludes by investigating the feasibility of employing TUFs in California to support public transit and meet the state's GHG emissions reduction goals.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Active Transportation, Transportation Finance, Transit and Passenger Rail, Transportation Finance

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project


Mineta Transportation Institute URL


Public transportation, transportation finance, transportation utility fee, utility fee, user fee, transportation


Public Administration | Public Economics | Transportation

2032-RB-Mathur-TUF-California.pdf (726 kB)
Research Brief