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Paying for the system


The Original 1996 Sound Move Plan (continued)

Financial plan framework

The proposal to be placed before the voters will be a ten-year construction plan financed in part by long-term bonds. As elements are completed, they will begin operating during that ten-year period. After the ten-year period, the RTA's tax revenues will be used to continue transit operations and pay for debt service. Any portion of tax revenues used for further capital expansion will be subject to voter re-approval.


The RTA is committed to building and operating a ten-year system plan that can be confidently funded and completed as promised to the region's citizens. To carry out this commitment, the RTA adopted the following guidelines for the financial plan:

  • Local tax rates - Sound Move will be funded in part by local revenues, generated within the RTA District boundaries, including a local sales tax increase not to exceed 4/10 of one percent and motor vehicle excise (license tab) tax increase not to exceed 3/10 of one percent.
  • State and federal program funding - The RTA assumes no state funds, thus placing no additional demand on limited state resources that are needed for other regional transportation investments.


The RTA assumes federal funding for new rail starts of $55 million per year and other federal funding sources of $18 million per year. Additional funds will be requested but the plan does not speculate beyond current sound estimates of federal support.

  • Conservative borrowing levels - The RTA Board has established financial policies to ensure conservative use of long-term debt (bonding). Because transit facilities provide benefits over a long span of time, it is reasonable to finance their construction over a period that extends beyond the ten-year system plan construction timeframe.
  • Subarea benefits - The RTA is committed to invest revenues to benefit the areas where they are raised. The amount of long-term debt financing used to benefit each subarea will be based on its financing capacity (defined by revenues generated and ability to repay debt after covering operating expenses).
  • Ten-year implementation - Different parts and segments of the plan will be implemented in stages and be operational as soon as possible. The RTA is committed to the entire system being completed and operational within 10 years.

Sound Move documents

Sound Move

See the original Sound Move Ten-Year Regional Transit System Plan.
View the documents.