State fails to adequately address transit fiscal cliff

Terrifying tales of transit agency layoffs and service cuts, known as the fiscal cliff, loom as the consequences of the pandemic and the drop in ridership from the shift to working at home. The Legislature and Governor have responded to the frantic lobbying by kicking the can down the road. The East Bay Times responded with a powerful editorial, Why Newsom’s Bay Area transit bailout will likely fail.  Excerpts:

Rather than directly address these problems, the new bailout plan from Sacramento doubles down on an oversight commission [MTC] that has failed since its establishment in 1970 to fulfill its state-mandated responsibility to coordinate the region’s transit systems.

For years, commissioners have talked about implementing coordinated and integrated fares for the 27 agencies, real-time departure information at transit stops and priority for buses on city streets. But MTC has never made even that happen.

Indeed, unless MTC suddenly develops a backbone and sense of urgency, the bailout bill will merely serve to enable and perpetuate the current labyrinth of transit inefficiency.

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