Bay Area transit agencies cheer infrastructure bill passage

11.15.21

Bay Area transit agencies cheer infrastructure bill passage

Transportation agencies from around the Bay Area celebrated the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) today, thanking President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as California’s federal delegation for their leadership and support. The bill will provide nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure funding that could potentially go to support dozens of projects and programs that help to keep our region moving.

“The infrastructure bill is a once-in-a-generation investment in things that matter to our riders: reliability, frequency and accessibility,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers. “It also benefits Bay Area residents who don’t necessarily ride BART by creating the opportunity for jobs with good pay. Our Congressional delegation and the Biden-Harris administration are to be applauded for their unwavering commitment to public transportation.” FTA formula funds within IIJA are expected to support BART’s Train Control Modernization Program to increase frequency through the Transbay Tube, to enhance BART’s efforts to rebuild tracks, electrical cabling and other critical infrastructure and to improve accessibility for those with disabilities, including modernizing elevators. 

“Electrification will transform Caltrain, replacing 75% of the aging diesel fleet with high-performance state of the art electric trains, but this funding will allow us to take the next step and finish the project by 2024,” said Caltrain’s Acting Executive Director Michelle Bouchard. “Additional federal support will help get us to a fully zero emission service and will allow the agency to realize its 2040 Service Vision goal of running 8 trains per hour in each direction, which would carry the equivalent of 5.5 lanes of freeway traffic. It also presents a new opportunity to support local communities pursuing grade separations throughout the corridor, a vital safety measure that will prevent traffic bottlenecks, as well as creating world class transit stations in San Francisco and San Jose that are better integrated into the communities they serve.”

“This is a great day for public transportation,” said SamTrans General Manager/CEO Carter Mau. “Bus agencies throughout California have committed to adopting fully zero emission fleets by 2040, and this bill offers a means of funding that ambitious goal. We are all one step closer to cleaner, greener bus service that is vital in the fight against climate change.”

“VTA will use this critical funding to help create jobs to build projects like the Silicon Valley BART Extension, to help meet the State of California mandates for clean energy fleets by 2040, and provide electric charging infrastructure at our three bus yards,” said VTA General Manager/CEO Carolyn Gonot. “We have a responsibility  to build a greener transportation network in Santa Clara County and this funding will help us do that.”

 “We have worked for two decades to ensure zero-emission is more than a test of innovation but achievable delivery of service aboard our expanding fleet of both hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric buses,” says General Manager Michael Hursh. “It is now our hope that this historic bill will accelerate AC Transit’s mission to eliminate tailpipe emissions from every bus by 2040, by funding infrastructure improvements like large-scale depot bus charging, faster and more efficient hydrogen fueling pumps, battery storage and microgrid systems for resilient operations, and renewed maintenance facilities to accommodate these new zero-emission bus technologies.”

“With this monumental help from our state and federal leaders, we now have the much needed funds to better our critical assets, transportation system and agency infrastructure,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “These dollars will directly fund the programs and projects our community values most-- including State of Good Repair, Complete Streets Investments, Fleet Replacement, Safe Streets for All Program, Overhead Lines, Historic Fleet Rehabilitation and Repair and Vision Zero.”  

“Overall, it is hard to overstate the significance of this legislation to the Capitol Corridor and the nation’s passenger rail industry,” said Rob Padgette, Managing Director for the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority. “Historically, we have relied almost entirely on funds from the State of California to invest in passenger rail improvements. With IIJA, we can now partner with the Federal government to dramatically enhance our service. For our riders, this legislation will mean stronger rail connections throughout the Northern California megaregion; improved safety and reliability; and an overall better customer experience.”

California will receive approximately $9.5 billion for public transportation and $47.2 billion for roads, bridges and ports from the bill. An additional $600 million will be available to prepare transportation system for extreme weather, including drought and wildfires.

The bill also includes an approximately $475 billion reauthorization of the core federal transportation program for the next five years, a 56% increase over the current Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The new five-year federal program should provide approximately $4.5 billion to the Bay Area through established formulas, which among other things will help to fund the purchase of new electric buses.