BART to eliminate positions, divert stimulus funds to help balance budget 

BART will eliminate 74 positions and divert nearly $20 million in federal stimulus funds to help make up a mid-year operating deficit of $25.2 million.

Because the BART Board of Directors approved an unbalanced budget, the transit agency entered this fiscal year already saddled with a projected shortfall of $21.7 million, and with ridership numbers still down and sales tax revenues hitting rock bottom levels, that deficit has increased to $25.2 million.

By eliminating the 74 positions—30 of which are vacant, 10-15 of which are expected to be vacated by attrition and reorganization, and 25-30 of which are filled with current employees—the transit agency hopes to save about $6 million in labor and non-labor costs.

The rest of the shortfall will be made up with a one-time transfer of $19.2 million in stimulus funds—the highest percentage allowed under the federal package.

Regional sales tax receipts, which make up one-third of BART’s operating budget, declined by $7 million in the latest fiscal quarter, a 14 percent drop compared to last year’s totals at the time. If marked the fourth straight double-digit percentage drop in sales tax revenue for the agency.

The amended budget will go for approval before the BART Board of Directors meeting on Thursday.

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Will Reisman

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