MTC, advocates, officials rally for Bay Area public transit

Transit rally
MTC Commissioner and San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen speaks at a public transit rally at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday.
Joey Kotfica

Transportation leaders, advocates and local officials gathered on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday calling for state funding to keep Bay Area public transit from falling off a financial cliff brought on by the Covid pandemic.

Transit boosters want to see Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature approve “bridge funding” in the state budget to keep buses, trains and ferries running. That would provide transit agencies with additional time to strategize ways to attract riders, while pursuing a future regional ballot measure.

“(Public transit) is essential to having a safe, vibrant, productive, working city,” MTC Commissioner and San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen said at the noontime rally. “We need the state to step up to provide us the bridge funding we need to keep this massive and critical system running.”

A temporary redirection of sources to transit operating would show the state’s commitment to saving public transit, a core element of the state’s climate and equity goals.

 These include:

  • Discretionary Cap and Trade proceeds above and beyond what the Governor has proposed in his January budget (the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the budget understated Cap and Trade revenue by as much as $800 million.)
  • A potential shift in new federal highway funds that could be temporarily shifted to transit.

Based on current ridership, service levels, and cost trends, Bay Area operators forecast annual budget shortfalls in the tens of millions of dollars in fiscal year 2023-24, growing to hundreds of millions of dollars beginning in fiscal year 2024-25 and thereafter.

If investments are made in ridership enhancement strategies next year, there’s a potential there won’t be a need for as much funding in future years as fare revenue increase by attracting more riders.

For more information on Bay Area transit challenges, visit:


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