New State Budget Addresses Transit's Fiscal Cliff
Getting people off the roads and into public transit and active transportation has long been a goal of mine since I was elected to the Legislature. That's why last year I was proud to lead the Assembly as Chair of the Budget Committee in championing $5.65 billion for transit and $1 billion for active transportation over three years.
Unfortunately, with the state seeing a budget deficit, the Governor's budget proposed cutting transit by $2 billion over the next two years. Since January, I have been fighting to keep this funding in the budget, especially as transit agencies have sounded the alarm about their fiscal cliffs.
Help for transit is one step closer to reality. Yesterday, the California Legislature approved and sent to the Governor SB 101, a budget bill for the 2023-24 fiscal year that starts July 1. Included is $5.1 billion for public transit agencies to address their budget deficits. If the Governor signs it, transit would get:
- $1.1 billion over three years from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund
- $4 billion over two years from Transportation and Intercity Rail Capital Program
We also made a significant portion of this funding "flexible," meaning agencies can use this money for either operations or infrastructure. This allows them to take care of their most immediate needs to avoid service cuts in the near future.
But, as I have always said, this lifeline would and should be contingent upon meeting accountability measures. We are finalizing those benchmarks to ensure the status quo isn't here to stay.
Transit must show us how they will bring customers back. They're facing a fiscal cliff because they're too dependent on the fare box, resulting in revenue declines and budget shortfalls. Ridership numbers will not increase unless a number of issues are addressed, including safety, cleanliness, and the creation of a seamless transit system - all things average riders want in order to come back. Even those who are currently riding want them.
I am confident we will soon be able to reach consensus on how public transportation can better serve Californians and make the transit experience better for riders. I'll update you soon on what those accountability measures will be.
Assemblymember, 19th District
P.S. There’s still room to march with at the San Francisco Pride Parade, which is Sunday, June 25th at 10:00 a.m. Please RSVP here by Wednesday, June 21 at Noon to ensure your spot.