Show Them YOU Matter

VTA artic bus 8335

VTA articulated bus 8335.

Your help is needed again, at the regional transit level.  On Monday, help the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) get more funding from part II of the COVID-19 CARES Act Federal Stimulus package.  You can do this at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Transit Recovery Task Force meeting at 2pm.  There, they will discuss how to divvy up the remaining funds for other Bay Area transit agencies.

We’ve been informed that all 27 transit agencies in the Bay Area are fighting over the funds now.  VTA is advocating for one funding option (2b) that includes equity in the formula used to distribute the funds.  Meanwhile, other agencies like BART and Caltrain are fighting against it.

Here’s more of what YOU can do to help on Monday afternoon.

Background

Please help VTA, SFMTA (San Francisco MUNI), and small bus operators in the Bay Area that predominantly serve low-income, minority, and transit-dependent riders get their fair share of CARES Act funding.

BART and Caltrain are advocating against distribution option 2b, which considers equity and the true need of operators. We need YOU to speak up in support of option 2b to make sure that equity is included in the distribution formula.

This is a big opportunity to help VTA get a larger share of part II of CARES act Federal Stimulus funding.

Who’s helped so far: letters from County Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese.  They are featured below.

Still, there are funding disparities between transit agencies that need to be corrected.

VTA vs. Caltrain average income disparity. Photo source: Mothers Out Front South Bay

This is why we’re asking MTC for more CARES money: a huge income disparity. VTA received less money than it needs in the first distribution of CARES funding.

For VTA, getting a major part of part II of CARES act funding is especially important.  Why? VTA’s buses and light rail serve primarily lower-income residents, students, minorities, and essential workers  The next section below details how YOU can help make that happen.

Meeting Information and How to Advocate

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) meeting where all this will be discussed is on Monday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm.  Public comment on this issue will be taken sometime between 2:30pm and 3pm.

Here’s how to dial in to the meeting:

Attendee Link: https://bayareametro.zoom.us/j/93686793570
Join by Telephone: 888 788 0099 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5247 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 936 8679 3570

If you are dialing in by telephone, press *9 on your phone keypad to “raise your hand.” Then, wait for the moderator to mention your phone number, then you can speak.

When you are called, give your name, where you live, and who you are affiliated with (if any). Consider saying this text during your time to speak:

I urge the MTC Blue Ribbon Task Force to recommend Option 2b to the MTC Commission.  This option would include an adjustment for transit agencies that are comprised of low-income and transit-dependent riders.  This is incredibly important to me because… [choose a fact below]

Facts:
1. 80% of VTA riders are transit-dependent.
2. 50% of VTA’s total ridership have household incomes less than $50,000 a year.
3. Almost 80% of VTA riders are in a racial or ethnic minority.
4. Almost ⅓ of VTA riders are students. Many are not old enough to drive.
5. VTA is very dependent on local sales tax, which as you know has taken a hit of historic proportions since the start of the COVID pandemic. The agency forecasts a deficit of $210 million by the end of the upcoming fiscal year.
6. VTA received a $73 million distribution in the first phase of CARES Act funding and was the only agency in that funding phase to receive less than it needed, while every other agency received more than enough to fill its needs at the time.

How Can I Stay On Top Of Today’s Action?

The item is later in the agenda so please email, text or Facebook message Monica Mallon if you would like to be notified when the item is up (rather than staying the entire time). monicamallon@icloud.com, (408)805-0566.

Monica Mallon, Mothers Out Front South Bay and Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action contributed to this report.

Eugene Bradley
Founder and CEO, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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