General Manager worries about economic future despite balanced budget
BART's budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year continues the agency's efforts of providing an unprecedented level of service to a record number of riders on an ever aging fleet.
The $673.4 million Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) Preliminary Operating Budget reflects the higher maintenance costs of keeping trains cleaner, running 33% more frequent service and improving the now 35-year-old system's 94% passenger on-time performance for its 360,000 riders each workday. However, when BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger presented the balanced budget to the BART Board at its meeting today, she had a word of warning.
"The FY09 budget reflects the cost of operating an aging system at unprecedented service levels at a time of uncertainty regarding the economy," Dugger said. "The economic news is worrisome and has caused us to take a cautious outlook on available revenues for the upcoming fiscal year. The state of the economy has always impacted the District's two primary revenue sources, which are ridership and sales taxes. Combined they constitute 79% of our operating budget sources."
BUDGET MAINTAINS CLEANING EFFORTS, BETTER SERVICE
This FY09 Preliminary Operating Budget, which would take effect July 1 should the Board approve it in June, would continue the current fiscal year's efforts to provide the most frequent level of service to the highest average workday ridership that BART has seen in its 35 years of operation &emdash; all while attempting to make the ever aging fleet of train cars cleaner. The proposed budget continues to:
- Replace worn carpet on 300 cars with attractive, easy-to-clean, low-cost, hard, rubberlike flooring
- Nearly double the rate of fresh, new car seat installation to 600/week
- Maintain 24 new train car cleaners added in current fiscal year
- Maintain the 33% increase in service Monday-Saturday after 7pm and all day Sunday (started January 1)
The BART Board will take the next two months to consider the FY09 Preliminary Operating Budget. Here are some key dates:
- May 8, 2008: BART staff gives a detailed presentation to the Board on the proposed budget
- May 22, 2008: Public hearing on Preliminary FY09 Operating Budget, presentation of Capital Budget
- June 12, 2008: The BART Board considers adoption of the budget
Should the Board adopt the FY09 Preliminary Operating Budget, it will take effect July 1, 2008 and end June 30, 2009.