Gov. Newsom signs interim budget on BART, vowing to give public transit $5.1 billion

Standing at the North Concord/Martinez BART station, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the new state budget proposal includes over $5 billion for public transit statewide, possibly giving a much-needed boost to the cash-strapped BART

Newsom signed the budget proposal while riding on BART alongside Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

"That $5.1 billion is a significant improvement from where we expected the budget to land," Newsom said in a video posted on Twitter. "But in return, we’re also demanding more accountability. We’re demanding more collaboration…, [and] a new business model for public transit." 

What that new business model looks like for public transit statewide remains to be seen, and details on how much BART and other transit agencies may receive have not yet been released.

Lawmakers still have to finalize the budget and send it to Newsom’s desk for approval before it’s fully enacted.

On Monday, lawmakers reached a tentative agreement on a $300 billion state budget after a week-long standoff over Newsom’s demands to fast track energy, transportation and other infrastructure projects. 

Newsom’s announcement comes after state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation to raise Bay Area bridge tolls $1.50 to help fund BART.

"We’ve made good progress in this year’s budget, but the future of public transportation in the Bay Area is still under threat due to pandemic-related operational deficits that, without help, will lead to severe service cuts," said Senator Wiener. "Bay Area transit ridership continues to climb, but it’s not happening quickly enough to make up for the loss of federal emergency assistance."