Seismologists have predicted that California is overdue for an earthquake as big as the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 with magnitudes expected to reach over 7.5. More than 70 percent of the California population, including the San Francisco Bay Area, resides within 30 miles of a fault where high ground shaking could occur as early as the next 30 years.
San Francisco and its citizens now have another tool to help in the wake of the next possible disaster. The Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) had recently added a fourth ferry vessel to their fleet.
Capable of transporting up to 199 passengers with a marine engine that is 85 percent cleaner than current EPA mandates, the newly added ferry provides an additional mode of transportation in the event of a man-made or natural disaster where a substantial amount of people need to be immediately transported to a safer part of the Bay Area. Such an incident could bring over 300,000 passengers looking for ferry service at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
WETA, which replaced the Water Transit Authority through SB 976 in 2007, improves the ability of ferries in the Bay Area to respond to an emergency, when roads, bridges, or BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) can fail in a major disaster.
Cal EMA provides funding to WETA for the Regional Public Waterborne Transit Program. This program is provided by the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006, approved by California voters as Proposition 1B during the November 2006 general election.
Proposition 1B also provides funding for Heavy Rail projects under the Intercity Passenger/Commuter Rail Program and Mass Transit projects under the California Transit Assistance Program through Cal EMA.