San Francisco, CA

What the Covid Stimulus Bill Has For You and For San Francisco. It's more than $1400 checks.

Geoffrey Greer

Make it rain.

Photo by Celyn Kang on Unsplash

Everyone knows that the new $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus has $1400 checks in it for many people. But that's actually a small part of the bill. What else is in it?

California is expected to get $42.6 billion from the Covid stimulus bill which is expected to pass today. That includes:

  • $26 billion for the state
  • $550 million for capital projects
  • $8.3 billion for cities and non-county jurisdictions
  • $7.6 billion for counties.

In a major victory for the Bay Area, San Francisco will get $630 million. Oakland will get $192 million, Alameda County will get $324 million, San Jose will get $223 million, and Contra Costa County will get $149 million.

If hotel, sales, and business taxes don't bounce back soon, San Francisco will be in trouble. Thanks to the stimulus, this won't happen. Mayor London Breed’s $650 million budget deficit over the next two years has been all but eliminated by the Covid stimulus bill.

Here is how San Francisco benefits from the stimulus.

Stimulus Checks Delivered

People who earn less than $75,000 per year, including couples earning less than $150,000 annually, will receive $1,400 per person. Approximately 90% of Americans will receive these checks.

According to recent research conducted by the California Budget & Policy Center, 22 million adults and children in California will benefit from the $1,400 checks. The bill also expands the child tax credit from $2,000 per year to $3,000 for children over the age of 6 and $3,600 for those under 6, subject to income caps.

The new bill will increase weekly jobless payments by $300 and extend two key pandemic unemployment benefits programs through September 6.

Public Transportation Wins

One of the big winners is San Francisco’s public transportation.

If passed by Congress, the new $1.9 trillion bill will provide a significant boost for agencies in need of transit funding, such as BART, Muni and Caltrain. If you live in San Francisco you’ve almost certainly used one of these services. People in San Francisco constantly use the train to get to Silicon Valley and vice versa. It cuts out all of the traffic. But, as useful and helpful as it is, these forms of public transportation are often running deficits and, since ridership has dropped precipitously during Covid, they are hurting right now. The Covid stimulus bill will provide them with much needed funding.

The House version of the stimulus bill includes $9.9 billion for the BART extension, converting Caltrain to electric power, and the delayed Central Subway from Caltrain to Chinatown.

The Silicon Valley extension would cost $6.9 billion to complete, and it will travel 6 miles through San Jose. The five-mile section of the underground subway would have three stations, then end in downtown Santa Clara. Construction will start in 2022, and passenger use is expected in 2030.

The $2.7 billion Transbay Tube capacity plan would increase the number of trains BART will send across the bay. The $1.6 billion Central Subway project, funded by the city of San Francisco, and the $1.9 billion Caltrain electrification project are currently being built. The subway is expected to open in mid-2022, and electric trains should also be able to start running by the end of next year.

The stimulus bill would cover part of these costs as follows:

  • $141 million to BART Silicon Valley
  • $77 million to the Transbay Tube capacity project
  • $47 million to Caltrain
  • $23 million to the Central Subway

The money is part of a $30 billion piece in the stimulus bill. The legislation calls for increased spending on transportation and infrastructure. The funds are meant to cover expenses caused by the Covid pandemic.

Food Stamp Help

People who rely on food stamps in California are about to get a huge increase in their benefits. Four million Californians enrolled in the food stamp program will receive an average of $27 more per month.

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