OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Thursday released a framework for allocating more than $780 million of federal relief funds to Bay Area transit agencies that have been hit hard by dramatic ridership drops due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MTC, which is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county Bay Area, said it developed the proposed allocations through a partnership with transit agency staff members.

The agency said the funds represent the first of two distributions of the roughly $1.3 billion in CARES Act funding for which Bay Area transit agencies are eligible and will be considered for by the MTC board at its next meeting next Wednesday.

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“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserves enormous thanks for her leadership in ensuring that Congress included support for public transit in the CARES Act,” MTC Chair Scott Haggerty said in a statement.

Haggerty also is a member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and serves as a director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which operates the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) rail service.

He said, “These extraordinary times have seen extraordinary cooperation and the Bay Area’s transit operators have come together with MTC to meet the moment.”

MTC officials said the first wave of funding allows CARES Act money to be distributed quickly and fairly to help Bay Area transit agencies meet the immediate crisis while retaining flexibility for a second phase that will allow the region to adapt to changing conditions in the months ahead.

Haggerty said, “These funds will help save a lot of jobs for the bus drivers, train operators, mechanics, dispatchers, cleaners and others who are making it possible for other essential workers to get to and from their jobs all around the Bay Area; and will help our transit agencies recover their footing when this public health emergency finally is behind us.”

MTC officials said they expect to take action later this year to distribute the region’s remaining CARES Act funding once transit agencies have had time to assess the full scope of revenue losses caused by the ongoing emergency and have developed new demand forecasts and recovery strategies.

Among the proposed allocations for the first distribution of CARES Act dollars are $251.6 million for BART, $197 million for the San Francisco Municipal Railway, $80.3 million for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, $73 million for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, $49.3 million for Caltrain and $30 million for Golden Gate Transit & Ferry.

Also proposed are $28.5 million for the San Mateo County Transit District, $12.5 million for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, $10.3 million for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, $7 million for County Connection, $5.4 million for Marin Transit, $3.9 million for Tri Delta Transit, $3.5 million for LAVTA, $2.7 million for ACE, $2.7 million for Napa Valley Transit (VINE), $2.6 million for SolTrans, $2.5 million for Santa Rosa CityBus and $2.2 million for the WestCAT.

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