For the first time, BART has combined its operating and capital programs into one budget document as a means to better illustrate the agency’s fiscal standing.
The operating budget, which covers day-to-day needs, has produced surpluses in recent years, a far cry from the financial straits facing other local transit systems. However, BART’s capital budget, which covers long-term projects, has a $6 billion shortfall over the next decade.
By combining both programs, BART is projecting a $1.6 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget assumes ridership growth topping 400,000 daily passengers and includes a $46 million investment in new rail cars.
“Instead of looking at our budget as operating vs. capital, it is best to look at the big picture — what we have now, combined with what is needed to sustain operation moving forward,” agency spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which is currently involved in budget negotiations with BART, said the agency’s move creates a fake financial crisis and ignores the surpluses in recent years.
“The budget proposes to divert vast amounts of money to fund huge development schemes promoted by BART directors themselves,” said Antonette Bryant, president of ATU Local 1555.