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  • Writer's pictureZack Deutsch-Gross

Speak Up for Transit Funding at December 20 MTC Meeting



The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which oversees the Bay Area’s transit agencies, will discuss a new Regional Transit Funding Measure at its next meeting on December 20, starting at 9:35 am.


The funding measure is item 9a on the agenda, and we need as many people as possible to attend the meeting and speak out in support of significant operations funding in the measure and a progressive revenue source so public transit in the Bay Area can survive and thrive.


You can join on Zoom or attend in person at the Yerba Buena Conference Room 1st Floor, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco.

If you can’t attend virtually or in person, you can submit a public comment by email to info@bayareametro.gov. Submit your comment by 5 pm on December 19. Use the subject line: “Comment for Metropolitan Transportation Commission Meeting, 12/20/23, Item 9a.”


This measure will shape the future of public transit in the region. We hope you can be part of a robust public process to create a sustainable framework to support a transportation system that will serve all communities while reducing congestion and VMT.


What is the Regional Transportation Funding Measure?


Changes in commuting patterns, increased remote work, and the end of one-time federal stimulus money have put many transit agencies in the difficult position of cutting service if they don't find new funding sources. The Bay Area’s providers were hit especially hard by this fiscal cliff. While California lawmakers provided some additional one-time funding, that only delayed the cliff. Our transit providers need a stable, long-term revenue source that allows them to not only continue current service levels but also provide more reliable, more frequent trains and buses, making public transit a convenient and attractive option for more trips.


A regional transit measure could put our transportation systems on a more solid footing for the years to come. The measure would create a dedicated funding stream for transit through a regional tax. Voters need to approve the new tax, probably in 2026, but first, the California Legislature needs to pass authorizing legislation, allowing the funding measure to be placed on the ballot.


We hope to pass the authorizing legislation in 2024, which means we don’t have much time to have a bill introduced. At the December 20 meeting, we will encourage MTC to move quickly to draft proposed language for the bill and to include key elements to make it a strong and equitable measure.


Talking points for the MTC meeting


Transit riders speaking out can help inspire MTC to create the best measure possible. Our voices have power, and we hope you’ll speak out at this crucial meeting.


When the Commission goes to public comment on item 9a, use the “raise hand” feature or dial 9 to get in the virtual queue. When called upon, unmute yourself or dial 6.

Please use these talking points to guide your testimony:

  • I appreciate staff’s work on this measure and on improving the experience of riders and workers.

  • [Tell your personal story about why public transit and safer streets matter to you]

  • [Operations funding] To have frequent, reliable, safe transit in the Bay Area, we must adopt authorizing legislation for a regional measure that prioritizes transit operations. Not moving forward is leaving transit riders on the curb.

  • [>$2B annually] Bay Area transit agencies are facing structural deficits of more than $600 million annually. Improved, transformed, abundant, safe, and affordable public transportation that the public wants will require a revenue measure that raises at least $2 billion annually.

  • [Progressive revenue source] Regarding the revenue mechanism, I am thrilled to see an income tax being considered, as well as other progressive sources such as a square-footage parcel tax and a payroll tax. It is important that authorizing legislation includes a menu of revenue options, including progressive sources.


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