The success of these actions hinges on the transit agency committing significant, sustained financial resources. To secure sufficient allocations for equity-related work while facing financial constraint, transit agencies will have to examine their own budgets and redistribute internal funds to equity efforts. Funding from external sources (e.g. federal, state, or local government, private foundations) is not guaranteed, tends to be one-off rather than sustained, and may stipulate or limit how funds can be used.
While not an easy task, there are different methods for shifting budget appropriately: reallocating funding so that expenditures with greater impact on equity receive more (for example, commuter discounts for large corporate employers do less to make transit affordable for riders with low incomes than targeted fare programs); using civilian teams (not armed police) as the primary response to people experiencing homelessness and people in mental health crisis; prioritizing funding within project budgets for equity action items before settling on allocations for other project needs; and paying CBOs for research and engagement instead of corporate consultants.
It is cost-effective for transit agencies to operate equitable systems. Transit service designed without addressing the needs of people who depend on it is destined to be inaccessible or inutile for them, therefore failing on metrics of both equity and ridership. On the other hand, decisions that weigh the needs of riders result in money well spent. The millions or billions of dollars to adjust, expand, or modernize translates to transit systems that work for the people who use it. Sustainable funding sources ensure that this work continues to build and progress, rather than having to be redone at a cost.
Finally, transit agencies that champion equity must put their money where their mouths are. Stated values mean little if they are not reflected in the budget. There is no way to progress on equity in transit without funding it.