Publication 216, The First 100 Years


Transit District Sales Tax Enacted

In 1970, the Board of Equalization added a new dimension to its taxing functions—the administration of a rapid transit district sales and use tax. The first state-administered Transit District Sales and Use Tax became operative April 1, 1970. The tax was levied at a rate of one-half of one percent in the three counties comprising the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART): Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties. A similar one-half of one percent tax was later imposed for the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRT) which encompassed virtually all of Los Angeles County; however, the SCRT tax terminated, as scheduled, on December 31, 1970. The Board of Equalization, as administrator of the transit district tax, collects the tax along with state and local sales and use taxes.

With the rising costs of fuel and energy there has been a growing trend towards the use of rapid transit throughout the state. The revenues provided by the imposition of a transit district tax have made this form of taxation attractive to other transit districts. Consequently, the Board now administers this tax for two more transit districts: 1) Santa Clara County Transit District (SCCT) encompassing only Santa Clara County, effective October 1, 1976, and 2) Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (SCMT) encompassing only Santa Cruz County, effective January 1, 1979.

It is likely that additional transit districts will enact tax laws that will come under the Board’s administration.