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  • Writer's pictureZack Deutsch-Gross

Voices for Public Transportation Applauds Senate for Passing Connect the Bay Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

May 24, 2024

Contact: Zack Deutsch-Gross zackdg@transformca.org, (415) 637-0101





Sacramento–Today, the California State Senate passed the Connect the Bay Bill, SB 1031 (Wiener, Wahab), which will provide operating funding for Bay Area public transit through a regional ballot measure slated for the 2026 election. The Voices for Public Transportation Coalition—a broad group of 40 community, rider, labor, and policy organizations—celebrated this critical step towards protecting and expanding transit service, walking, and biking to meet communities’ needs and climate goals. 


The authorizing legislation is a critical step toward achieving our vision of transformative transit service in the Bay Area. The bill sets a goal of raising $1.5 billion in annual funding, with at least 45% going to transit operations. It also includes two progressive revenue sources, a payroll and per-square-foot parcel tax, and caps a regressive sales tax option at half a cent. As the bill advances in the Assembly, Voices for Public Transportation will continue to advocate for additional funding for public transit and to limit roadway expenditures to state of good repair and safe and complete streets.


“We are happy to see this essential legislation move forward,” said Zack Deutsch-Gross, Policy Director at Transform. “SB 1031 has the potential to improve transportation for everyone in the Bay Area, but we must stay focused to ensure public transit and safer streets, not highway expansion, are at the forefront of the measure.”


“Bay Area residents strongly support improving and transforming public transit — SB 1031 enables the Bay Area to advance a ballot measure that addresses transit agency’s fiscal challenges while also advancing the reforms that can deliver a seamless, rider-focused system.” said Ian Griffiths, Co-Executive Director, Seamless Bay Area. “It’s critical that this bill move forward, as there is no credible alternative plan to prevent service cuts or make the necessary investments in our system needed to address our housing, climate, and equity goals.”


"SB 1031 is the Bay Area's only plan for ensuring frequent, reliable, and affordable buses, trains, and ferries. We are glad the bill advanced out of the Senate, and we will continue to work in the Assembly to ensure it provides enough funding for transit service and to maintain the progressive revenue sources and limits on the regressive sales tax," said Laurel Paget-Seekins, Senior Policy Advocate for Transportation Justice at Public Advocates.  


“The Bay Area deserves a world-class transit system, and SB 1031 is an essential step towards that goal. This measure will help maintain and transform public transit service for our entire region. We look forward to working with the Assembly to ensure the final legislation supports the Bay Area's values around climate action and equity,” said Dylan Fabris, Community & Policy Manager at San Francisco Transit Riders.


"We're pleased SB 1031 is moving forward with more progressive revenue sources being part of the conversation for funding an improved and hopefully more accessible and equitable transportation system," said Marjorie Alvord, Community Leader at Genesis. 


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Voices for Public Transportation Coalition is a group of 40 community, rider, labor, and policy organizations. Coordinating Committee members include: 


Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice.


TransForm works to ensure that people of all incomes thrive in a world safe from climate chaos. We envision vibrant neighborhoods, transformed by excellent, sustainable mobility options and affordable housing, where those historically impacted by racist disinvestment now have power and voice.


San Francisco Transit Riders is the city’s member-supported, grassroots advocate for excellent, affordable, and growing public transit. We believe that empowering everyday transit riders to speak up for rider-first policies will bring us the world-class transit system we need for a livable, sustainable, and accessible San Francisco.


Urban Habitat is a movement support organization working to democratize power and advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities of color.


Seamless Bay Area is a not-for-profit project whose mission is to transform the Bay Area’s fragmented and inconvenient public transit into a world-class, unified, equitable, and widely-used system by building a diverse movement for change and promoting policy reforms.


Genesis aims to impact structural racism through our issue campaigns. As the Bay area affiliate of the Gamaliel Network, we center our work on those who are the most vulnerable (youth, elders, people with disabilities).

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