BART will receive more than $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funding following the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s first allocation of funding for transit on Wednesday.
The transit agency will receive $103.7 million, $55 million of which will be used to close BART’s budget deficit for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
The rest of the funding will be used to cover part of BART’s expected deficit for the following fiscal year, which the agency’s budget officials have pegged at $254 million before accounting for federal relief.
“These funds provide short-term relief, preventing lay-offs and providing funds to keep our current service levels for our current ridership which is heavily transit dependent,” BART General Manager Bob Powers said in a statement.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 included $14 billion for the country’s transit agencies, which have struggled as the pandemic gutted ridership revenue.
According to the MTC, the Bay Area should receive roughly $975 million in total from the relief bill. The commission will then disperse that funding to individual transit agencies.
The first tranche of funding went to Bay Area transit agencies that received less than they should have from last March’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act due to revenue loss forecasts that proved to be too bullish.
BART officials have expressed optimism for further federal relief funding under President Joe Biden’s administration, which has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package.
“While we continue to advocate for these funds, we also must continue to right size our workforce and budget through retirement incentives, shifting operating workers to capital projects, and significantly reducing non-essential overtime and other costs,” Powers said.