Funding Local Transit Service
Securing transportation investments to operate more public transportation service and meet the needs of low-income communities of color.
Supporting Transit Workers’ Fight for Hazard Pay
Many grocery, healthcare, and other essential workers in California have received hazard pay. But the frontline transit workers who have carried them to and from their workplaces throughout the pandemic have yet to receive compensation of any kind for the risk and sacrifice they have endured. Frontline workers at three Bay Area transit unions have banded together, with the support of Public Advocates and some of our Voices for Public Transportation Coalition partners, to demand that long-overdue compensation.
State Funding for Transit in California
With the new administration and a majority in Congress intent on de-funding mass transit, our state’s investment in transit is more important than ever. With a platform that calls mass transit “an inherently local affair that serves only a small portion of the population, concentrated in six big cities,” federal lawmakers are taking aim directly at the transit riders, overwhelmingly low-income people and people of color, who depend on the local bus to get to work, school and the doctor’s office.
Meanwhile, a top priority of California’s Governor and Legislature this year, reflected in SB 1 (Beall) and AB 1 (Frazier), is funding our state’s unmet transportation needs. Public Advocates seeks amendments that will ensure that we not only provide billions of dollars to maintain our roads and freeways, but also fund increased transit service and reduced fares.
On Jan. 30 — the same day we issued a letter with 35 organizations across California asking lawmakers to include $1 billion a year for transit service and bus passes in the funding package — Senators Scott Weiner and Ben Allen authored an op-ed calling for “massive, transformational investments in public transportation.” A week later, we submitted the same letter, now with 80 organizations joining us.
We stand with them in our desire for new spending priorities that do not just “cut ribbons on high-profile transit projects while letting our transit systems overall deteriorate.” Public Advocates will be working hard to win this important budget change during the current legislative session.
County transportation planning
In the Bay Area, countywide transportation agencies wield significant power over the use of billions of dollars in transportation funding. These little-known “Congestion Management Agencies” – such as CCTA in Contra Costa County, ACTC in Alameda County, and VTA in Santa Clara County – have influence not only within their individual counties but across the nine-county region, through the adoption of long-range transportation plans and sales tax expenditure plans.
Climate investments in transit
Public Advocates works with statewide and community partners to ensure that investments made using from state Cap-and-Trade revenues reduce greenhouse gas emissions result in affordable, accessible and reliable public transit for low-income riders.