New Proposals Would Fund Transit and Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Two new transportation funding proposals to bolster the region’s aging public transit network and reduce greenhouse gas emissions were discussed November 13 at MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee.

Totaling nearly $10 billion, the proposals were released for public review and are expected to be finalized by the year’s end by the full Commission after deliberations by MTC’s Policy Advisory Council, public agency partners and other interested organizations and individuals. Both proposals come out of the recently adopted Plan Bay Area, the region’s long-range transportation and housing blueprint.

“The Plan’s in-fill and transit-oriented growth strategy relies on a well-maintained transit system,” said MTC Programming and Allocations Director Alix Bockelman. “Yet Plan Bay Area identifies a funding shortfall of $17 billion over 28 years to bring the region’s public transit network up to a state of good repair,” she noted, adding “The proposed Transit Core Capacity Challenge Grant Program would accelerate existing funding and narrow that funding gap over the next 15 years by investing more than $7 billion for transit capital replacement and rehabilitation needs, as well as for key transit upgrades to support future service expansion.”

This program seeks to fund capital needs for the region’s three largest public transit operators — San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni), BART and AC Transit, which together carry more than 80 percent of the region’s transit passengers, as well as more than 75 percent of the region’s low income and minority riders. The approximately $7.4 billion from federal, state, regional and local sources, including bridge toll revenues, would require a 30 percent match from the three operators (which explains the “Challenge” part of the program name) and would fund transit vehicle replacement, fleet expansion and key facility upgrades. Operators would also need to meet certain performance and efficiency objectives.

Another program, a Draft Cap and Trade Funding Framework, proposes using $3.1 billion in anticipated California Cap and Trade revenues expected to be available to the Bay Area through 2040 to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. At least 25 percent of the funding must be targeted to low-income communities, pursuant to language adopted in Plan Bay Area.

The program identifies five areas for funding:

1) $800 million for the Core Capacity Challenge Grants described above — an amount that is factored into the $7.4 billion available for that program;

2) $450 million for transit operating and efficiency costs,

3) $1.05 billion for “One Bay Area Grants,” MTC’s program to provide counties with funding for needed transportation improvements and planning to support development near transit stations,

4) $400 million for MTC’s Climate Initiatives Program, which funds a range of programs to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and

5) $450 million to improve goods movement and efficiency and to mitigate environmental impacts of moving freight through communities.

For more information, please refer to MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee items:

Transit Core Capacity

Cap and Trade