Transit Advocates are Pushing MTC to Release $1.7 Billion in Federal Funding to Grow Services

when American rescue plan (ARP) was officially enacted on March 11, and the goal of the $ 1.9 trillion federal bailout package was to revitalize the national economy in the wake of a pandemic catastrophic recession.

Two months after President Biden signed the bill, transit riders and transit employees in the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.. The funding is to restore service across 27 modes of transportation in nine counties in the Bay Area, all of which are in desperate need of financial support. MTC instead adopted austerity until July 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2022. This is because the ridership is well below the pre-pandemic level.

But supporters say they’re tired of waiting for more services.

Last week, dozens of transit workers, riders, and supporters gathered at the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco to express concerns about frozen funding and the future of Bay Area Transit. The event was organized by 24 advocacy and alliances throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose. Integrated Transit Union Local 265, South Bay Labor Council, Working Partnership USA And Silicon Valley Youth Climate Change Countermeasures..

“We miss doctor appointments, school and work every day, so we’re here to see a crowded bus rolling right next to us,” said Yovanka Beckles. It was. AC Transit director. “What they are doing is a deliberate move, not only in public transport, but in communities that depend on it for years to come, especially when it is very vulnerable. It’s hard to understand. “

Joty Dhaliwal and Nathan Swedlow of the East Bay People’s Transit AllianceTwo event organizers say they want advocacy to lead to faster action. TMTC Programming and Assignment Committee met on Thursday Discuss recommendations for splitting federal relief funds, including potential increases in future services.

“I think so [with] Due to the reduction in public transport, those who are most affected are those who are classified as key workers, “Swedlow said. “We call them mandatory, but we’re not doing anything to meet their needs to provide the services they need to get a job.”

The May 2021 transit funding protest was organized by 24 advocacy groups and alliance groups throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose’s Integrated Transit Union Local 265, South Bay Labor Council, Working Partnership USA, and Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action. It was. (Photo by Grace Stetson)

But even before the pandemic, there wasn’t always a convenient route, Dhaliwal said. The Pre-Covid-19 took about 100 minutes one way to commute from downtown Auckland to San Francisco’s Bayview and cost about $ 9.

“One of the things I want to think about ARP funds is how they can be used to rethink routes and significantly increase services,” said Dhaliwal. .. “But services are minimal. We need more services and better routes to make public transport competitive.”

President of ATU Local 265 in San Jose Valley Transportation Bureau Since 2011, we have agreed not to meet the needs of transit riders before or during the pandemic.

“In the early days of the pandemic, ATU and VTA were able to work together to move critical personnel through the county,” he said. “As we get out of the pandemic and begin to reaffirm what the post-pandemic world will look like, I think VTAs and MTCs are now sooner or later missing out on the opportunity to do so.”

One of the major problems with the entire bay area during a pandemic was the rise of “pass-ups” where bus drivers left riders at stops due to county social distance measures. Courtney estimates that there are 800 to 1,000 pass-ups daily in the county. He said it might prevent more riders from coming back.

Defender of Monica Maron, who founded a non-profit organization Turnout4Transit To preserve and improve the county’s transportation routes — we also addressed a pandemic pass-up, but are concerned that transportation services have not been fully restored as offices have reopened and restrictions have been relaxed. ..

“There has been no increase in service since August,” she said. “This is one of the biggest challenges. Improving service to agencies so that more people aren’t left behind. It’s not a matter of money for VTA …. they spend a lot of money. Have, they just don’t prioritize putting out the service and planning to avoid it. “

THe said MTC said this pee in a memoPassenger numbers remain down more than 75% compared to pre-pandemic levels, but the Bay Area admits that it has received more than $ 2.3 billion in emergency transport funding since March 2020.

With that in mind, the agency’s secretary-general, Therese McMillan, said in a memo that the funds already raised by MTC were “at least the current level of operating spending from 2021 to the first quarter of 2010.” Said to fund.

“This provides a valuable window for considering how restoration or new transit services should proceed after 2021-22, from the pre-pandemic assumed” rearview mirror “to” front window “. I will. “McMillan said in a memo.

According to MTC documents, the new financial budget is considering increasing services, but Courtney said long waits for the changes could damage the local transportation system. I am.

“It is said that some people call or cry about the lack of the right amount of service,” he said. “It has the greatest impact on the underprivileged and underserved people in our area who need the most transit.”

Transit Advocates are Pushing MTC to Release $1.7 Billion in Federal Funding to Grow Services Source link Transit Advocates are Pushing MTC to Release $1.7 Billion in Federal Funding to Grow Services

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