Northern New Mexico transit provider wins federal recognition

October 2, 2018

The North Central Regional Transit District was honored by the Federal Transit Administration as a top service provider of rural public transportation on Monday, a little more than a month before extension of a tax that helps pay for the service goes before regional voters.

The Española-based transit district, which operates a fleet of distinctive blue buses serving various communities, was one of six organizations nationally recognized with an outstanding public service award by Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

It was the second time in the last four years the transit district has won the federal accolade.

The operation provides largely free bus transportation across four counties — Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Taos — and several pueblos.

Most of its funding comes from a one-eighth-cent gross receipts tax collected across the four counties, with much of the revenue collected in Santa Fe County.

Voters in those counties on Nov. 6 will decide whether to remove a 2024 “sunset” provision for that so-called “transit GRT.”

If the sunset provision is not removed, in this election or in a subsequent year, the one-eighth-cent tax will expire Jan. 1, 2024.

Because the gross receipts tax revenue also allows the district to match state and federal grants, its expiration would effectively end the bus service, district officials have said.

Approval of the tax reauthorization would require majority support of voters across the four-county area. In an April poll commissioned by the transit district, more than 80 percent of respondents said they support extending the tax beyond 2024.

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