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The San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on Wednesday allocated $494 million to help more than 20 transit agencies replace or rehabilitate equipment, including rail cars, tracks and bridges. The funds will also go toward updating safety, control and communications systems; installing new fare collection equipment; and maintaining serves for elderly and disabled passengers, MTC officials said in a press release."With last month’s passage by Congress of the new FAST Act, we finally have some certainty about the level of federal funding coming to the region for the next several years," said MTC Chair Dave Cortese. "This allowed us not only to take a big programming action for transit capital priorities in the current fiscal year, but also to begin committing to transit capital investments in upcoming years."The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is a five-year, $305 billion bill that was signed into law early last month. It marked the first long-term surface transportation bill passed by Congress in a decade.Some of the bigger investments made possible by MTC's funding include $50 million for the Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) rail-car replacement program; $17 million to update deteriorating segments of the BART railway; and $97 million to accelerate the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's replacement of dozens of buses and trolley coaches.The allocation also reserves about $52 million for Caltrain's planned replacement of diesel-powered trains with electric vehicles as part of its system electrification and positive train control initiatives, MTC officials said.The MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area's transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency.
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