Let It Flow: Federal Funding for Bay Area Transportation
The Federal Transit Administration announced yesterday (March 3) that five Bay Area transit operators will receive an additional $525 million of operating revenue from the American Rescue Plan thanks to the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The appropriation is in addition to $1.84 billion of federal aid that Bay Area transit agencies received throughout the pandemic, and it is designed to help transit systems overcome the financial hit caused by a devastating drop in ridership. BART, Muni, Golden Gate Transit, Caltrain, and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) will all receive funds to help recover revenue losses, as these systems rely heavily on passenger fares to sustain operations.
The Bay Area Council has been a leading advocate to secure pandemic relief funds to save the region’s transit agencies over the past two years. Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman’s leadership as Chair of WETA has also guided the regional ferry system through the worst of the pandemic, and the San Francisco Bay Ferry system has begun to restore its ridership since instituting the COVID-19 Recovery Program last summer. The Council is continuing to work with the region’s operators to attract commuters back to their systems when they return to offices.