Transit Leaders Discuss Ways to Avoid Fiscal Cliff
Finding a solution to the fiscal cliff facing many Bay Area transit agencies is a top priority for the Bay Area Council and transportation leaders from around the region. With remote work and concerns about crime, safety and cleanliness keeping riders from returning to transit, agencies are staring at a combined $2.9 billion deficit in the next five years that could lead to crippling service reductions and threaten the very survival of backbone systems like BART, MUNI and Caltrain.
This dire scenario and what can be done about it was the focus of a virtual discussion—Steering Transit from the Fiscal Cliff—that the Council helped convene yesterday (March 13) with partner SPUR. Participants included state Sen. Scott Wiener; Rebecca Long, Director of Legislation and Public Affairs, Metropolitan Transportation Commission; Michael Pimentel, Executive Director, California Transit Association; Laura Tolkoff, Transportation Director, SPUR; and Emily Loper, the Council’s Vice President for transit policy.
“I cannot overstate how devastating it would be if we let transit go off the fiscal cliff,” said Sen. Wiener, who has been a leading champion in the Legislature for securing additional financial help from the state.
Panelists discussed a range of ideas for finding state and local money to cover the operating shortfall. Earlier in the day the Bay Area Council Transportation Committee also met with MTC Executive Director Andrew Fremier to explore creative strategies to restore public trust in our transit systems and build them into better and more sustainable services in the future. The Bay Area Council is working closely with MTC and other regional partners to ensure that transit survives this crisis and thrives moving forward. To learn more about the Survive + Thrive Coalition. To engage in the Council’s transportation policy work and learn more about the Survive + Thrive Coalition, please contact Policy Vice President Emily Loper.