Bay Area commuters, forced by spiking gas prices onto buses and trains in the coming years, will be treated to subtle pleasures such as floodlit train stations and new vehicles following the latest injection of bond funds divvied up by the state.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced $136 million in statewide transit funding Tuesday, including more than $60 million for the Bay Area.
The lion’s share of local funding will go to BART, with its $36 million infusion earmarked to create more comfortable and accessible train stations, according to spokesman Linton Johnson.
“It could mean better escalators or more escalators and better elevators with wider doorways,” Johnson said. “Upgrades to the facilities will make them brighter and easier to get to, and they will look more modern.”
The cash will also be spent on behind-the-scenes improvements such as new electrical wiring, according to Johnson.
The BART board of directors will consider specific spending proposals when they meet on June 26, according to Johnson.
Muni will receive more than $13 million, with most of that money invested in a new yard on Third Street where buses will be parked overnight, according to spokesman Judson True.
$1 million of new Muni funds will be spent on fare-collection equipment and roughly $3 million will go toward new restrooms for staff members, according to True.
San Mateo County Transit District passengers will see 137 new low-floor, fuel-efficient diesel buses rolled out by the end of next year to replace one-third of the 15-year-old buses in the district’s fleet, according to spokeswoman Christine Dunn.
The funding announced Tuesday by Schwarzenegger will come from $3.6 billion in transit bonds authorized by voters when they passed the $19.9 billion transportation-related Proposition 1B in November 2006. The latest announcement takes Proposition 1B spending this fiscal year to $530 million statewide, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“The funding of these projects will encourage the use of public transit and give Californians an alternative to rising gas prices,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
The governor announced $136 million in voter-approved transportation funding, including more than $60 million for Bay Area needs, including the following.
<p>$36 million BART: To upgrades all 43 BART stations by replacing aging equipment and improving station signs.
$9.7 million Muni: For transit agency’s Metro East Light Rail Vehicle Facility.
$8 million SamTrans: To replace 126 aging buses with more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Source: Governor’s Press Office