Key committees greenlight transportation revenue and reform bill

Karl Nielsen

The state Senate's Transportation Committee and Revenue and Taxation Committee this week voted to advance Senate Bill 1031, introduced earlier this year by Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Sen. Aisha Wahab of Hayward.

SB 1031, also known as the Connect Bay Area Act, would allow voters throughout the Bay Area to consider as early as November 2026 a comprehensive transportation revenue measure that would preserve and enhance public transit operations, improve the condition of local streets and roads, and promote mobility and access for all people, including pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter and wheelchair users.

Following this week's approval by the Transportation and Revenue and Taxation committees, the bill moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration in May. 

The Connect Bay Area Act proposes that MTC allocate at least $750 million annually to support Bay Area transit operations if voters approve a regional payroll tax, regional parcel tax, regional sales tax, or a regional vehicle registration surcharge. The bill would make MTC responsible for implementing a seamless transit experience throughout the Bay Area, and would require the Commission to adopt and update rules and regulations to promote the coordination of fares, fare-payment methods and fare integration among various transit agencies. 

The bill also requires the California State Transportation Agency to conduct an assessment of the pros and cons of transit agency consolidation within the Bay Area and to follow up that assessment with a plan to implement consolidation, which the bill defines broadly to include staff integration, not strictly organizational mergers.

“Senator Wiener and Senator Wahab deserve a lot of credit for demanding accountability from MTC and the transit agencies,” said MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza at the time the Connect Bay Area Act was introduced in March. “We’re going to be asking voters for a lot of money and we need to make sure it’s invested wisely. We do need to transform our transit network and the way we pay to operate it. But we also need to transform our local streets to fix potholes and make the roads safer for walking and biking. The bill balances better connectivity without encouraging people to drive more.”


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