More options for dealing with deficit to be considered at BART Board meeting May 14
More options for dealing with a projected budget shortfall of $54 million in the next fiscal year will be up for discussion when the BART Board of Directors meets on Thursday, May 14. Amid the continuing economic recession, BART faces a $54 million shortfall in the fiscal year starting July 1 and a $249 million deficit over the next four years. The large deficit is due mostly to one of the steepest declines of sales tax revenues in BART’s history, elimination of state funds for transit and declining ridership because of job losses in the region.
At its last meeting on April 23, the BART Board discussed fare increases, new parking fees and service changes as possible components in solving the deficit, along with $100 million in labor cost reductions. The next regularly scheduled fare change would be a 6.1% inflation-based increase starting Jan. 1, but Board members have asked BART staff to research other fare and parking options and report back at the May meeting. Those could include some or all of the following:
- Moving up the date of the 6.1% increase to July 1.
- Increasing the minimum fare (charged for the shortest-distance trips) from the current $1.50 to $1.75, plus increasing the rest of the fares by 6.1%.
- Adding $0.25 to all base fares, plus increasing the rest of the fares by 6.1%;
- Increasing the premium fare for San Francisco International Airport, plus increasing the rest of the fares by 6.1%. Currently, a premium of $1.50 is added to every fare to and from SFO; an increase in the premium of up to $3.50 or more is being considered. As an example, the current total fare from downtown San Francisco to SFO is $5.35. If an increase of $3.50 were to be imposed, that same fare would rise to $9.10. A smaller increase could also be imposed.
- Adding a nickel surcharge to every trip to help fund bus service, plus increasing the rest of the fares by 6.1%.
- Implementing parking fees at stations that do not currently charge for parking, if they meet certain criteria (that the station’s parking lots fill three or more days per week).
- Increasing parking fees, with possible use of market-based pricing.
Staff will present a report on the budget to the Board at the May 14 meeting, and there will be discussion of the possible fare and parking options. The next key dates in the budget process are:
- May 14: Discussion of sources and uses of funding and BART's service plan at the regular Board meeting.
- May 28: Public hearing on the proposed budget, including fare and parking fee increases. BART's capital budget for Fiscal Year 2010 also will be discussed.
- June 11: Possible Board action on fares, fees and resolution to adopt Fiscal Year 2010 budget.
- July 1: Fiscal Year 2010 begins
The public can comment on the BART budget process at any public meeting of the Board of Directors, and can conact the Board by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Notices and agendas for Board meetings are posted the Monday before regularly scheduled meetings.