News

BART board told COVID-19 resurgence is hurting budget further

'I don't see how BART is going to survive,' Director Ames says

BART officials told the agency's Board of Directors on Thursday that the Bay Area's COVID-19 coronavirus resurgence has BART already falling behind on its revenue projections for fiscal year 2021, which began July 1.

BART officials said the agency is likely to receive nearly $40 million less than the $416 million it requested from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

BART ridership is also trending closer to its slower projected ramp-up, in which the agency would reach 15% of its pre-pandemic annual ridership during the fiscal year, than its faster projected ramp-up, which included a 50% ridership goal for the fiscal year.

Board Director Liz Ames said BART could consider finding additional funding by taking out loans or reducing daily service, but the state of the agency is dire in either scenario.

"I don't see how BART is going to survive," she said. "I mean I don't want to say bankruptcy but this is a fiscal emergency."

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BART passed its fiscal year 2021 budget last month after making roughly $200 million in cuts from the preliminary budget the agency considered in mid-May.

The final budget punted on planned funding for things like new hires and BART officials touted that the budget avoided making cuts or to existing staff or furloughing them. However, that budget was predicated on CARES Act funding and fare revenue sitting at the midpoint between 15% and 50% of pre-pandemic ridership.

Board Director Janice Li said part of BART's lack of ridership increases and the Bay Area's coronavirus surge in general falls at the feet of President Donald Trump.

"It's hard for me to be optimistic until we get past November when we have a president of this country who sees mask-wearing as political," Li said.

BART officials are expected to meet again with the board later this year to determine whether revisions to the fiscal year 2021 budget are necessary. The agency has planned to consider such revisions each quarter, starting in October.

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BART board told COVID-19 resurgence is hurting budget further

'I don't see how BART is going to survive,' Director Ames says

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 5:22 pm

BART officials told the agency's Board of Directors on Thursday that the Bay Area's COVID-19 coronavirus resurgence has BART already falling behind on its revenue projections for fiscal year 2021, which began July 1.

BART officials said the agency is likely to receive nearly $40 million less than the $416 million it requested from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

BART ridership is also trending closer to its slower projected ramp-up, in which the agency would reach 15% of its pre-pandemic annual ridership during the fiscal year, than its faster projected ramp-up, which included a 50% ridership goal for the fiscal year.

Board Director Liz Ames said BART could consider finding additional funding by taking out loans or reducing daily service, but the state of the agency is dire in either scenario.

"I don't see how BART is going to survive," she said. "I mean I don't want to say bankruptcy but this is a fiscal emergency."

BART passed its fiscal year 2021 budget last month after making roughly $200 million in cuts from the preliminary budget the agency considered in mid-May.

The final budget punted on planned funding for things like new hires and BART officials touted that the budget avoided making cuts or to existing staff or furloughing them. However, that budget was predicated on CARES Act funding and fare revenue sitting at the midpoint between 15% and 50% of pre-pandemic ridership.

Board Director Janice Li said part of BART's lack of ridership increases and the Bay Area's coronavirus surge in general falls at the feet of President Donald Trump.

"It's hard for me to be optimistic until we get past November when we have a president of this country who sees mask-wearing as political," Li said.

BART officials are expected to meet again with the board later this year to determine whether revisions to the fiscal year 2021 budget are necessary. The agency has planned to consider such revisions each quarter, starting in October.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Jo
Parkside
on Jul 24, 2020 at 6:21 am
Jo, Parkside
on Jul 24, 2020 at 6:21 am
2 people like this

WJW... blame T for everything


Wombat
Downtown
on Jul 24, 2020 at 6:39 am
Wombat, Downtown
on Jul 24, 2020 at 6:39 am
14 people like this

Not a Trump fan. In fact I think that he’s gone full looney and is an embarrassment to this country. But I don’t think that BART director Janice Li should be pointing fingers at Trump for BART’s current problems. I remember Janice Li because she’s also soft on cracking down on the annoying trend of buskers popping up on BART train cars and subjecting unsuspecting riders to their racket and then begging for money. Here’s a quote on the subject of busking on BART by Janice Li:

Janice Li: "I can’t see a world where I would support a straight-up ban (on busking). I feel like it continues the trajectory of sanitizing the culture of San Francisco and the Bay. We’ve already displaced the arts, and now we’ll regulate it to death? No thanks."


Jake Waters
Birdland
on Jul 24, 2020 at 8:38 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
on Jul 24, 2020 at 8:38 am
15 people like this

First, Trump is the greatest president since Lincoln. A man who has been attacked for 4 years everyday, ALL day, has been set upon with hoaxes, coups, and lies, but gets up every morning and does his job is nothing short of amazing. The Democrats hate him because he has exposed their true agenda. Trump is neither a Republican or Democrat, which is why the majority of RINO’s in Congress never wanted him or support him. Ok, that said onto BART.

BART is by far the worst managed entity in three galaxies. Every time you hear from them they want more and more tax payer money. They are the least safe transportation system by far. I suggest they shut BART down for a year- nobody is using it. SF is a pit hole so who wants to go there, sports is over and buried, you risk your life going through the Nation Of Oakland run by terrorists, so it’s a win-win.

Take the millions of dollars they are asking for and place it in a fund- call it the ‘People’s Money’ (the left will love the name) and allow the Bay Area to access it for gas and Uber rides everywhere that BART services now. It’s safer, more efficient, and the money trickles down to the working class (or proletariat- the liberals will love that concept too).

Either way, don’t give them any money.


Charlie
Amador Estates
on Jul 24, 2020 at 8:57 am
Charlie, Amador Estates
on Jul 24, 2020 at 8:57 am
14 people like this

A great deal of BART's problems have to do with it being an unsafe means to travel to The City.

I refuse to take a train from Pleasanton to SF as it has to go through some of the most unsafe stations in the BART system.

BART is financially unhealthy for many reasons, none that have anything to do with the president.

This is just another example of the "I Hate Trump So I Blame Him For Everything" attitude that permeates the CA environment.....


Wombat
Downtown
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:05 am
Wombat, Downtown
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:05 am
10 people like this

BART has its problems to deal with, and Trump has his own mental health problems to deal with. Two separate issues. Let’s hope that they can both work things out.


Pat K
Del Prado
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:45 am
Pat K, Del Prado
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:45 am
14 people like this

Especially interesting in light of the raises just approved for BART workers? See Phil Matier article 07/22/20 in San Francisco Chronicle where "BART’s ridership is only 12% of what it was before the coronavirus pandemic and it’s facing a projected loss of $975 million over the next three years — nonetheless, the transit agency’s workers got a 2.75% raise July 1, bringing the top salary for station agents and train operators to $93,085.20 a year, plus benefits."


FrequentWalkerMiles
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:48 am
FrequentWalkerMiles, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2020 at 9:48 am
15 people like this

BART is an embarrassment of epic proportions. People like Janice don’t realize how incompetent they look when much of the Bay Area has been to other cities in the country and seen how well other transit systems work.

But none of that matters as long as she can blame someone else, apparently.


Rich Serrano
Foothill Knolls
on Jul 24, 2020 at 10:23 am
Rich Serrano, Foothill Knolls
on Jul 24, 2020 at 10:23 am
13 people like this

Boo Hoo cry me a river. Dumpy unsafe, poorly maintained trains and stations, overpaid workers, inept and greedy management just to name a few. All that working against it ... and it’s Trumps fault!? It can close for good for all I care.


RentFreeInTheirHeads
Birdland
on Jul 24, 2020 at 11:27 am
RentFreeInTheirHeads, Birdland
on Jul 24, 2020 at 11:27 am
Like this comment

People often say those who are most vocally against something secretly harbor desires for it, eg anti-gay activists who are secretly in the closet, etc. I wonder if that applies to the rapid anti-Trumper like Ms Li here.


Vicki Cunniffe
Stoneridge
on Jul 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm
Vicki Cunniffe, Stoneridge
on Jul 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm
18 people like this

Perhaps BART should reconsider that very generous raise they just announced,,,,$93K for a train driver. Ridership has been down due to the pandemic, store & restaurant closings and unemployment...we have nowhere to go! Don't punish the taxpayers and loyal riders due to the BART Board's incompetence and seemingly total lack of concern for the public and rider safety. Make some deep budget cuts, focus on being a public transportation operation, clean up the trains and stations. Riders will come back when they feel safe and are ready. The last thing we need is higher taxes and fares as a bailout. BART needs to work with what they have to make it happen.


Buck
Foothill Farms
on Jul 24, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Buck, Foothill Farms
on Jul 24, 2020 at 2:37 pm
10 people like this

The downward spiral of BART began in 2013 with BART’s capitulation to union demands that increased workers pay over 15%. It was projected that by 2017 the average BART worker salary would be over $88,000 per year. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson and Oakland Mayor Quan were the highest-ranking government officials involved in the negotiations.

Then, in 2016, BART gave the 3,300 BART workers another 10.5% raise in exchange for an agreement not to strike until 2021. [Meanwhile, the California Legislature had done nothing over the years to ban public transportation strikes involving BART.]

BART management knew that the increase and huge benefits packages previously agreed upon were unsustainable or at least suspected it. It was estimated in 2016 BART probably has pension plan liability of over $3 billion dollars. In addition, they had a huge unfunded liability for retiree benefits. Couple this with employees getting six weeks of vacation after 20 years of service (5 weeks after 15 years) plus 13 holidays a year, 2 floating days and a birthday off, means that a 20 year worker is getting 2 months off each year. You can quickly see that this is unsustainable.

Also, in 2016, BART put a $3.5 Billion bond package on the ballot, which 70% of the voters of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties votes for.

So, the BART Ponzi scheme is alive and well. Get new bonds passed and bailouts to fund all of their past misadventures and the continuing unbelievable liability for retiree pensions and medical expenses and blame it all on someone else.

The unions do not escape blame here either. They knew this was unsustainable and there was a chance that the workers future benefits could be in possible jeopardy, but they pressed ahead to get unsustainable wage and benefit packages for their workers.

Someone is eventually going to have to pay the fiddler.


Me
Golden Eagle
on Jul 24, 2020 at 7:52 pm
Me, Golden Eagle
on Jul 24, 2020 at 7:52 pm
7 people like this

BART and Agent Orange are the worst.
BART is probably the worst run metro system in the U.S..
Agent Orange( Trump ) is the worst President that the U.S. has ever had.


Me
Golden Eagle
on Jul 27, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Me, Golden Eagle
on Jul 27, 2020 at 12:12 pm
3 people like this

We are going to see bigger problems with BART. Less ridership. More people are going to be working from home. Businesses in SF are going to downsize or move out of the city. SF has gone from the #1 city to visit in the U.S.. to one of the filthiest. People in the Bay Area are avoiding riding into the city on BART for dinner or a ballgame because BART and S.F. are filthy and have safety issues.. BART and San Francisco what a disappointment!


Jo
Parkside
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:11 pm
Jo, Parkside
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:11 pm
3 people like this

To Me: say what you want about Agent Orange.. I dont care.

But you can't place BART issues in his lap. BART has been a a unshine-able turd for years.


Flightops
Registered user
Downtown
on Aug 3, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Flightops, Downtown
Registered user
on Aug 3, 2020 at 7:07 pm
2 people like this

Worst run transit system in this country and a total embarrassment compared to transit systems in other countries I’ve been to.
Filthy and unsafe trains and stations and a total waste of taxpayers money, give management the “BOOT” and bring in somebody that can take charge and turn this train wreck around.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 4, 2020 at 10:05 am
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 10:05 am
1 person likes this

BART made its bed, now lay in it.

We actually do need it though, but Trump has nothing to do with it. If you want to point blame to a politician Gavin is your man.


DKHSK
Registered user
Bridle Creek
on Aug 5, 2020 at 10:34 pm
DKHSK, Bridle Creek
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Like this comment

Too bad.

Local and state governments are going along with the Covid panic and then will expect a bailout, yet the small business owner can't open his/her shop?

Burn down all the quasi-governments that are supporting this COVID nonsense, including the school districts. Just burn them all down and start from scratch.

Dan


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 6, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Like this comment

Portland and Washington are doing that, and they'll probably just still end up taxing the local population to pay for it.

You're screwed regardless.


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