Two bills passed by the State Legislature — which still have to be signed into law by the governor — are making the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) breathe a sigh of relief about the state’s transit agencies regaining federal funding. One of the bills, AB 1222, would exempt local transit agencies’ transit workers from the state’s pension reform act through the end of next year or until the state settles its fight for the law in court. The other bill, SB 13, would make some technical changes to the pension law, including a permanent exemption for transit workers who have pensions under the federal Taft-Hartley Act.
Bus riders got caught in the middle when the Teamsters, which represents MTD drivers, objected to the new state pension reform act — stating that it interfered with its collective bargaining rights — and the federal Department of Labor delayed transit funds until the dispute was resolved. MTD has been concerned about the how the cuts in federal funding would curtail its services and had been seeking the public’s input on its emergency plans.