BART balances budget, but challenges remain 

click to enlarge Although BART has a balanced budget, challenges await the transit agency. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Although BART has a balanced budget, challenges await the transit agency.

Cleaner train cars, fewer transients sleeping in stations and more investment in an overworked maintenance yard are all part of BART’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

For the first time, BART is combining its capital budget, which covers long-term improvement projects, with its operating budget, which details day-to-day expenses. The $1.6 billion plan is projected to be balanced for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Among the capital expenditures, BART plans to spend $71 million on its Hayward maintenance complex, a storage facility that has historically been underfunded. Out of its operating budget, the agency proposes $3.1 million for station improvements such as basic cleaning and increased access for cyclists and pedestrians.

And $500,000 is slated to go toward addressing the growing number of transients in BART stations.

While the agency has had operating surpluses in the past several years, its capital shortfall is daunting — $6 billion over the next decade. By combining the budgets, BART officials say they’re creating a more accurate depiction of the agency. Even with ridership growing steadily and local tax revenue increasing for the agency, the long-term picture is challenging, said Paul Oversier, BART’s assistant general manager.

“If we don’t make good decisions and we don’t provide adequate funding to our core needs, the bottom can fall out pretty quick,” Oversier said.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

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