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‘Connect Bay Area Act’ Withdrawn 

Setback for Bay Area transit

A fantasy map of what Bay Area transit maps might look like if the Swiss were running the show. Image: Seamless/SPUR

S.B. 1031, the Connect Bay Area Act to authorize a regional transportation funding measure, was pulled from this year’s legislative cycle. From a Friday morning statement from the bill's sponsors:

Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward)—along with bill sponsor Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)—announced they will pause SB 1031 and introduce new legislation in 2025. Senators Wiener and Wahab introduced SB 1031 in March to authorize a Bay Area regional ballot measure to fund public transportation, safe streets and mobility improvements. The measure would stabilize our transit systems in the short term, make these systems financially sustainable in the long term, invest in the capital needs of both transit and roads, and enact reforms that make our transit systems more seamless and integrated, and study consolidation and enhanced coordination of the Bay Area’s 27 transit agencies. Last week, S.B. 1031 passed the Senate with 26 votes and the support of 8 of the 9 Bay Area Senators. 

The decision was made in light of opposition from several corners, but notably San Jose and Santa Clara County. From KQED's reporting:

Santa Clara County officials came out against the measure, saying that the initial 70 percent allocation was too low and that funds should come back directly to the county without the MTC’s involvement. Officials in the South Bay said they were also concerned that a new sales tax would interfere with several existing sales taxes that support transit operations in the county and are being used to help pay for the $12.7 billion BART extension through downtown San José.

That dispute came to a head last Friday when the bill made it to the State Senate floor. Sen. Dave Cortese, a San José Democrat, called the S.B. 1031 tax proposal “an existential threat” to Santa Clara County and complained that his proposal to send revenue from the tax directly to the counties had been “flat out rejected.”

"The decision to put S.B. 1031 on pause is disappointing, but understandable given the importance of having broad support for a ballot measure in 2026," wrote Seamless Bay Area in a statement, adding that a "funding measure remains crucial to address the fiscal cliff facing Bay Area transit services, and to meet the public’s demands for improved and more user-friendly transit with coordinated fares and schedules."

”Public transportation is part of the Bay Area’s lifeblood, and well-funded, reliable, safe, seamless transit systems are essential for our region’s future. We are deeply committed to ensuring the sustainability of the Bay Area’s public transportation systems, modernizing, improving, and better integrating those systems to improve the rider experience, and investing in broader sustainable transportation infrastructure needs," wrote Wiener, Wahab, and MTC Chair and Vice Chair Alfredo Pedroza and Nick Josefowitz in a joint statement.

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