Transportation

Struggling Bay Area transit agencies poised to receive first wave of federal support

Transit
Credit
Mark Prado

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on Thursday released a framework for the allocation of more than $780 million of federal funds to cash-strapped Bay Area transit agencies through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law last month. The proposed allocations, developed through a partnership between MTC and transit agency staff, represent the first of two distributions of the roughly $1.3 billion in CARES Act funding for which Bay Area transit agencies are eligible and will be considered by the Commission at its next meeting on Wednesday, April 22.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserves enormous thanks for her leadership in ensuring that Congress included support for public transit in the CARES Act,” said MTC Chair and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who also serves as a director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) and of the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which operates the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) rail service. “These extraordinary times have seen extraordinary cooperation and the Bay Area’s transit operators have come together with MTC to meet the moment.”

This first wave of funding allows CARES Act money to be distributed quickly and fairly to help Bay Area transit agencies meet the immediate crisis while retaining flexibility for a second phase that will allow the region to adapt to changing conditions in the months ahead

Haggerty added, “These funds will help save a lot of jobs for the bus drivers, train operators, mechanics, dispatchers, cleaners and others who are making it possible for other essential workers to get to and from their jobs all around the Bay Area; and will help our transit agencies recover their footing when this public health emergency finally is behind us.”

MTC is expected to take action later this year to distribute the region’s remaining CARES Act funding once transit agencies have had time to assess the full scope of revenue losses caused by the ongoing emergency, and have developed new demand forecasts and recovery strategies.

Proposed allocations for the first distribution of CARES Act dollars can be found here.

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