"The long-term mental health impacts of experiencing something like that is truly unknown to most of us, but something that professional assistants and resources can help deal with," Cortese said.
Local leaders said the funding is essential for the VTA to jump-start its recovery process, resume light rail service and meet the most pressing needs of employees and their families after such a traumatic event.
"These funds for worker mental health support, relocation and retraining, and facility upgrades, are imperative to addressing the workforce's health and well-being, rebuilding regional transit, and preventing future workplace violence," Kalra said in a statement.
Early on May 26, a VTA employee shot and killed nine of his co-workers at a light rail facility in San Jose, before turning the gun on himself. Most of the victims were light rail drivers or engineers. Nearly 100 employees witnessed the massacre.
"A hundred people witnessed it directly or indirectly, 100 people were impacted and had to evacuate the site, hide, run out on rooftops and then, really, be put in a position where they're grieving," Cortese said. "They've lost their team, and they aren't really clear as to what safety measures have been put in place before they come back or what kind of assistance there is for them."
The funding would be used in part to provide grief counseling to employees who lost friends and co-workers, and to support staff who may want to be retrained and relocated.
"We lost members of our family — essential union employees that provided vital public transit service every day of this pandemic," said John Courtney, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265. "This funding will go a long way as we work to build back our community."