BART provided $251.6 million in federal emergency funds

04.22.20

BART provided $251.6 million in federal emergency funds

Today the Metropolitan Transportation Commission approved providing BART with $251.6 million in federal CARES Act FTA funding. The allocation is the first installment of the $1.3 billion in funding provided to Bay Area transit operators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BART is currently serving 6% of its regular ridership.  Despite the steep ridership decline, BART continues to move thousands of healthcare workers, airport workers, law enforcement and other essential workers across the Bay Area daily.

“These emergency lifeline funds will be used to stabilize our budget and to continue to provide BART service running for essential workers,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers.  “I want to thank Speaker Pelosi and our Bay Area congressional delegation for prioritizing transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for their leadership and quickly developing the initial distribution formula and balancing the needs of Bay Area transit operators big and small.  This money, coupled with cost cutting measures we immediately took, will help bridge our multi-million funding gap that was brought on in a matter of weeks by the pandemic.  The money will also support BART labor forces, keeping employees safe, healthy, and employed.  There is much work left to be done and future installments of the CARES Act will be needed in the short term to address the new reality of low ridership and the costs associated with responding to the pandemic.”

BART will work closely with the MTC on future installments of the funds while continuing to advocate for additional state and federal funds.  When shelter-in-place orders are lifted, the Bay Area’s economic recovery will be tied in part to BART’s ability to carry workers from their homes to their jobs. 

“We must approach our service and budget planning in a way that allows us to easily scale up when demand begins to grow,” Powers said.  “We also can’t lose sight of our clean air goals and transit’s role in providing reliable transportation for our transit dependent riders, seniors, workers with long commutes and lower-income communities.”