(Along with our allies from Seamless Bay Area, the Amalgamated Transit Union, Public Advocates, Transform, and Urban Habitat!)
For many weeks, Genesis has been demanding that the MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) use some of the $1.3 Billion in Federal Emergency Transit Funds from CARES Act to protect the lives of transit workers and riders because we believe in helping the most vulnerable among us. Here is what we have done to act:
In March 2020, we had a Call to Action Training where 45 people committed to making calls.
We are working with our allies on the Voices for Public Transportation to push on MTC on many fronts.
On May 28, 2020, we had live-streamed, Virtual Town Hall Meeting where 75 people came together to call on Commissioner Amy Worth (Contra Costa County, to take on this demand by meeting with the Genesis Clergy in a longer accountability session.
At the April 2020 meeting, the MTC Commissioners merely asked staff to "survey transit agencies on safety practices" and created a "Blue Ribbon Task Forces." NOT A SINGLE MTC COMMISSIONER spoke in favor of our demand, much less lifted a finger to make it happen.
At the May 2020 MTC meeting, because of our Call to Action, there was a complete reversal. Every Commissioner who spoke (after our powerful public comment) emphasized that safety should be priority number 1 and forced the objective of the Blue Ribbon Task Force to take this on.
This is despite the reckless ambivalence of Chair Scott Haggerty (Alameda County, 510-272-6691) stated that "the transit agencies are taking care of it" and despite the fact that MTC staff ignored our demands. The Blue Ribbon Task Force Chair, Commissioner Jim Spering (Solano County, 707-784-6136) stated:
“I believe that safety is our number one priority to get riders back and our transit employees have got to be protected. So Mr. Chairman, that is one of the topics I'm going to get into right away with the BRC and as it was originally stated the first order of business is the CARES allocation.. . .we certainly ought to put safety as the highest priority when we do that. The next phase is going to be how we restore ridership and work with the operators to look at the strategies to do so and the third is looking at the organizations and operation of all the transit operations to see where we have inefficiencies or overlapping programs or how we're providing the service.”
As you may know, it is very rare MTC Commissioners to take this kind of leadership. Thank you to all of you who are standing in solidarity with those essential workers who keep us moving on public transit.
What you can do to help:
1. Call Commissioner Haggerty (email and phone above) and let him know (with some righteous anger!) that "We should not roll the dice on saving lives. I want MTC to use the emergency funds for PPE for Workers and Riders."
2. Call Commissioner Spering (email and phone above). "Thank you for making safety a priority. I want MTC to use the emergency funds for PPE for Workers and Riders."