BART General Manager Bob Powers stands on board a train at Lake Merritt station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

BART GM calls transit funding in federal stimulus package a ‘critical lifeline’

A $2 trillion federal novel coronavirus stimulus package will include $25 billion in relief funding for public transit agencies across the country, an allocation BART General Manager Bob Powers called “critical lifeline funds” Wednesday.

The package is the result of a bipartisan deal that will include an expansion of unemployment benefits, emergency funding for state and local governments, funding for hospitals, a pool of grants and loans for small businesses and $1,200 checks given to most Americans. The House of Representatives and Senate are expected to vote on the economic aid package this week.

The transit funding will help BART and other local public transit agencies shore up losses in fare revenue and lost revenue as a result of reduced economic activity as millions of people stay in their homes. BART officials have said the agency’s roughly 90 percent ridership drop and 50 percent reduction in economic activity compared to similar periods last month will reduce its monthly revenue by about $57 million.

“For BART, these emergency funds can be the difference between needing to shut down when our reserves run out and maintaining service to keep the San Francisco Bay Area moving,” Powers said in a statement. “Sixty percent of our operating budget is funded by fare revenue and we’ve sustained a 90 percent drop in ridership during this crisis.”

BART officials have also lobbied state and local officials for emergency aid funding as no one is sure how long the economy will be shut down to contain the spread of the virus.

Powers said the funding is just one step toward keeping public transit agencies functioning properly.

“But it is a significant down payment for the essential workers in the region and commuters when they return,” he said.

Bay Area Newssan francisco newsTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Small, impassioned crowd celebrates the Fourth of July with protest for affirmative action

Lawmakers and marchers urge voters to pass Proposition 16 in the November ballot

Union threatens legal action after Police Commission expands use-of-force policy

San Francisco’s police union is pursuing legal action after the Police Commission… Continue reading

Giants announce health guidelines for Oracle Park

The San Francisco Giants announced Friday that the organization’s maintenance team will… Continue reading

Restorative art on the inside and out

Curator Ericka Scott organizes exhibition of works by prisoners

City Attorney seeks to recoup ‘illegal profits’ gained by Walter Wong through city contracts

San Francisco will seek to recover “illegal profits” gained by well-known permit… Continue reading

Most Read