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SF Chronicle: Why the Start of BART & Muni’s Death Spiral Is ‘Closer Than We Think’

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sacramento lawmakers have one month left before they must pass a state budget, and it appears unlikely it’ll include a $5 billion bailout for BART, SFMTA and the state’s transit agencies.

That’s the amount agencies said they need to avoid “doomsday” service cuts after they exhaust what’s left of the $4.5 billion in federal aid they’ve used to operate trains, buses and ferries during the pandemic. About half of that $5 billion accounts for deficits in the Bay Area alone, where many agencies are struggling with steep ridership declines.

... Several Democrats in the Legislature, including San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assembly Member Phil Ting, say they’re pushing for state assistance for transit. But California’s own precarious budget outlook is the main barrier for securing a bailout.

... “I don’t think there’s anybody in the Bay Area who would be pleased with that type of proposal — to give the transit agencies money just to maintain the status quo,” Ting said.