Local lawmakers announced Monday that the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will receive $20 million from the state to aid its recovery, pending final approval by the legislature, after they pushed for more support during budget negotiations.
"I'm pleased to announce that plea for help and resources was met with the kind of action that it deserved," said State Senator Dave Cortese, who represents San Jose in the state legislature.
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All trains at the Guadalupe light rail facility have been idled since May 26, when a disgruntled VTA maintenance employee killed nine of his coworkers, before turning the gun on himself, as officers closed in.
"Working with the VTA administration and union leadership, we were able to make the compelling case, even at this late hour in terms of the budget process, of the dire need," said Assemblymember Ash Kalra, who joined Cortese in urging for funding.
Half the money will go toward mental health services for workers and families of the fallen, as well as staff education and relocation. The other half can be used for facility repairs and improvements, along with upgrades to the system to help prevent future shutdowns. VTA officials hope to resume service in a matter of weeks, not months, but couldn't provide a definitive date.
"We need to make sure that our employees feel safe and secure and that they have the resources that they need, the support services that they need and the equipment and the environment that they need to be able to do their jobs," said VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross.
VIDEO: San Jose mass shooting: Victims remembered after attack at VTA light rail yard
The Guadalupe yard is the central location where VTA trains are stored and maintained. Officials say specialized equipment was heavily damaged during the shooting and fixing the facility will not only be a challenge logistically, but also emotionally, for the hundreds of employees who work there.
John Courtney, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265, says they're doing everything they can to provide support.
"There is no playbook for what we all went through," said Courtney. "I can tell you that there are some amazing chapters being written right now."
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