Following its April action to approve federal emergency funds for public transit, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released on May 7, 2020 a framework for creation of a 30-member Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force to guide the future of the Bay Area’s public transportation network as the region adjusts to new conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force, chaired by MTC Commissioner and Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, includes other local elected officials as well as advocates for people with disabilities; representatives from the state Senate and Assembly; the California State Transportation Agency; transit operators; business and labor groups; and transit and social justice advocates. The Task Force members were formally appointed at the Commission’s May 27th meeting.
The Task Force will assist MTC in understanding the scale of the crisis facing all Bay Area transit systems because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to guide its regional response through expedited distribution of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Phase 2 funds. The first distribution of $780 million in CARES Act funding was approved by MTC in April 2020. Network connectivity, financial sustainability, and transportation system equity will be important considerations.
Additionally, the Task Force shall submit a Bay Area Public Transit Transformation Action Plan to the Commission by mid-2021 for its consideration and possible adoption. The Plan should describe the actions needed to re-shape the region’s transit system into a more connected, more efficient, and more user-focused mobility network across the entire Bay Area and beyond.