To advocate and deliver services that support and promote a safe and comprehensive transit system in Iowa to enhance access to opportunities and quality of life.
The Iowa DOT administers federal and state transit grants and provides technical assistance to Iowa's 19 urban public transit systems and 16 regional public transit systems. More than 15 million rides are provided annually by Iowa's transit systems. Every county in Iowa is served by a regional system to ensure Iowans have transportation to work, medical facilities, meal sites, and leisure activities.
Urban systems provide scheduled route services in larger Iowa communities. Most regional systems offer demand-responsive service, and provide contract service. Transit systems work with human service agencies to provide coordinated service for transportation in their areas. All transit systems listed receive state and federal money, and are open for general public use.
Iowa's public transit systems rely on state and federal transit assistance to make rides available and affordable for Iowans. State transit assistance is funded by fees for new registration collected on sales of motor vehicles and accessory equipment. The amount available varies each year, but was $17.4 million in FY 2024. Federal programs provide revenue for operational expenses, facilities and buses. A relatively new federal program helps transit agencies provide longer hours of service or new routes to help Iowans have better transportation to and from jobs.
Local support such as tax revenue, fares and donations provide a larger share of agencies' operating budgets. Local cities can assess a tax levy to directly provide transit services or to purchase services from the regional system. Federal money is also available for intercity bus operations to help Iowans maintain connection to the national bus system.