BART to hold public hearing on FY 2006 budget


BART to hold public hearing on FY 2006 budget

BART BOARD TO LOOK AT DAILY PARKING FEES,  REDUCING TICKET DISCOUNTS, ADDING TICKET SURCHARGES

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, BART's Board of Directors will hold a public hearing in the BART Board Room for the public to comment on both the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Preliminary Operating Budget and proposals to generate revenues to help reduce the $30 million deficit projected for fiscal year 2006. The proposals include:

? ESTABLISHING DAILY PARKING FEES AT SOME OR ALL EAST BAY STATIONS: Cost: Between $1.00/day and $5.00/day depending on the station.

? ATTENDANT PARKING: Proposal would allow passengers to drop off their vehicle with a private, professional parking operator. Cost: $5.00-$8.00. BART would not receive a portion of the fee. But the program would bring more riders because professional parkers would more efficiently park vehicles resulting in more spots available in BART lots.

? REDUCING 75% DISCOUNT FOR SENIORS, CHILDREN (5 to 12) & PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: BART currently offers one of the most generous discounts in the nation. The proposal would reduce the discount to no less than 50% off a full BART fare.

? ESTABLISHING A TICKET SURCHARGE: Proposal would add a surcharge not to exceed $0.15 on most trips. BART would use a portion of the revenues to fund capital projects like keeping the new fare gates, ticket machines and refurbished BART cars in working order. SamTrans would use its portion of the revenues to offset the operating costs of the new extension to San Francisco Int'l Airport and Millbrae.

BRIEF HISTORY OF BART'S BUDGET CHALLENGES:
The economic downturn over the past four years has hammered BART, virtually every public agency and many businesses across the nation. As a result, BART ridership and revenues have dropped off dramatically. At the same time, BART has seen a 66% increase in healthcare and benefit costs. To bring expenses in line with revenues, BART has cut 418 positions and slashed more than $60 million in expenses. While making these cost-cutting decisions, BART made sure there would be no reduction to train service hours, frequency of train service or to BART's 94% passenger on-time record.

However, as BART enters its fourth year of cost cutting, the future looks even more challenging. In January, BART staff projected a deficit of $53 million for the upcoming fiscal year. On April 1, BART staff released a revised budget, called the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Preliminary Operating Budget. The FY06 Preliminary Budget eliminates another 115 positions and reduces another $13 million in expenses. Even with these measures, however, a $30 million deficit remains in the FY06 Preliminary Budget. Further cuts could result in service reductions ? something BART has avoided doing so far.

?It's my belief that if we cut service, we will create a downward spiral from which it would be difficult to recover,? BART General Manager Thomas Margro said. ?That's because service cuts lead to drops in ridership and it's the riders who provide BART with its largest single source of revenue. Therefore this budget seeks to minimize the impacts on customer convenience by maintaining basic train service and on-time performance.?

WHAT: Public Hearing on Revenue Enhancement Items & FY 06 Budget
WHEN: Thursday, April 28, 2005 9 a.m.
WHERE: Kaiser Center, BART Board Room
344 20th St.
Oakland, CA 94612
WHY: To hear public comment on FY06 Preliminary Operating Budget and proposals to reduce BART's $30 million projected deficit

Official notice of public hearing on FY 2006 Budget
Memo on FY2006 revenue enhancement items (73 k .pdf file)

PUBLIC CAN ALSO SEND COMMENTS TO:
KENNETH DURON, DISTRICT SECRETARY
300 Lakeside Drive, 23rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
kkelly@bart.gov