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Broad Coalition Urges State to Craft Budget with Transit Operations in Mind

MTC, Transit Agencies Join Business and Environmental Groups, Policy Advocates
Karl Nielsen

MTC this week joined dozens of other organizations from around California as signatories to a letter urging the chairs of the budget committees in both the state Senate and Assembly to include a major, multi-year funding commitment for transit agency operations in the fiscal 2023-24 state budget now being developed in Sacramento.

The letter reflects MTC's identification of state support for transit operations as the Commission's top priority for the 2023 legislative session.  Billions of dollars in federal money delivered through a series of bills passed by Congress in 2020 and 2021 helped keep transit agencies across the country maintain operations over the past three years. But several transit agencies in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California may exhaust these funds before the 2023-24 fiscal year is over. Other Bay Area transit agencies are expected to face a similar 'fiscal cliff' by the 2024-25 fiscal year, leaving them unable to maintain their existing service levels, expand efforts to improve their riders' customer experience, or hire the workers needed to end a shortage of drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, station agents, and other staff positions that has emerged in recent years.

Acknowledging the projected $25 billion deficit lawmakers must close as they work to craft a new state budget, a group of state Senate and Assembly members authored a separate letter to colleagues voicing similar support for funding transit operations in the emerging post-pandemic era as an essential step toward meeting California's access, mobility, climate and equity goals. Four of the 13 legislators signing the letter are former MTC commissioners: Sen. Dave Cortese of San Jose, Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa, Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, and Assembly member Damon Connolly of San Rafael.

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