Transit agency intergovernmental agreements: Commn issues and solutions

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - governance, organisation - regulation, place - north america


Agreements, Lessons learned, Memoranda of understanding


Transit agencies often require intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), a commonly used method for transit agencies to contract with other governmental units—large and small—for a variety of purposes and projects, and memoranda of understanding (MOUs), an arrangement with other local jurisdictions, state governments, agencies, and other transit entities in connection with land acquisition, construction projects, bus and rail operations, partnerships, third-party responsibilities (e.g., local match), and other matters. Many of these IGAs and MOUs are relatively straightforward, but some can involve intensive and time-consuming drafting and negotiation over sophisticated, transit-relevant issues. To avoid “reinventing the wheel” and to help assure that useful innovations in other jurisdictions are not overlooked, this project panel decided that transit agencies, in general, and particularly attorneys can benefit from identification of useful examples of transit-relevant issues and how they have been addressed in past IGAs and MOUs. The objectives of this project are to 1) discuss legal principles that distinguish IGAs and MOUs from other types of agreements, including consideration of specific federal and state laws that may apply; 2) obtain and review examples of IGAs and MOUs from transit agencies addressing such general areas; 3) provide links and references to enable access to the complete IGAs and MOUs; 4) within each general area, analyze common, transit-relevant legal issues that arise; 5) discuss specific examples including lessons learned; 6) provide samples of provisions successfully addressing such issues; and 7) provide a checklist of standard issues to address in IGAs and MOUs. With approximately 119 of these agreements included on the enclosed CD-ROM, CRP-CD-122, and a checklist of items to follow when developing an agreement, this digest should be of interest to state and local legislators, transit managers, board members, state and local administrative officials, attorneys, and financial and policy officials from these units of government.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.