The BART Board of Directors is scheduled to hear a presentation at its Thursday, February 25, meeting on the "pro forma" outlook for the next fiscal year (FY11), which begins July 1, 2010. The pro forma budget rolls over the current budget with existing service levels and programs, with updates for known factors. There is still a good deal of information to be updated, so this is a very preliminary look at the budget picture.
The FY11 pro forma shows BART facing an estimated $14 million budget deficit, joining other transit agencies around the area looking at deficits. Longer-range forecast projects a deficit of more than $60 million over the next four years.
Deep into this current economic slowdown, BART projects ridership declines into the first half of FY11 and slight growth in the second half of the year, leading to flat ridership overall for FY11. After losing about $40 million in sales tax revenues over the past two years, BART also is projecting no growth in FY11. Together passenger fares and sales tax make up over 80% of BART’s operating funds.
In addition, the Governor and Legislature are currently working to solve a $20 billion, 18-month State budget deficit. Although State Transit Assistance was eliminated through 2013 last year, the current State budget process is evolving rapidly and could result in additional funds or additional cuts to transit assistance. BART is proactively working with the California Transit Association and other transit agencies to respond to various proposals from the Governor and the Legislature to demonstrate the critical ongoing transit funding needs.
Next steps after Thursday's budget discussion will include:
- A more detailed preliminary budget with possible deficit solutions to the Board by April 1;
- Additional meetings on the budget in April and May, including a formal public hearing;
- Adoption of the FY11 budget by the board no later than June 30.
Notices and agendas for Board of Directors meetings are posted on the Monday before regularly scheduled Thursday meetings. The agenda explains the process if you wish to attend and address the board in person on the budget or other issues.