Bay Area’s transit lifeline fails for now as fiscal disaster bill meets its demise.

The bill aimed at funding public transportation in the Bay Area has faced significant opposition from various groups, with disagreements over funding sources, the allocation of funds to different counties, and the involvement of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Progressive transportation advocates oppose funding for highway expansion projects, while transit operators like Caltrain are against a provision requiring a study of agency consolidation. Business groups reject a payroll tax, and some bill supporters are hesitant about a sales tax due to its regressive nature. The most significant disagreement concerns the “return to source” issue, with Santa Clara County officials calling for direct funding without MTC involvement. The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, acknowledges the influence of Santa Clara County in withdrawing the bill, emphasizing the need to find a fair funding solution that benefits all counties. Meanwhile, the looming financial deficits for BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency underscore the urgent need for new operating support. Ian Griffiths, policy director for Seamless Bay Area, suggests focusing on developing a clear service vision to make the benefits of a transit tax measure more real for voters.