BART to vote on budget that includes $35 million in customer improvements 

BART’s board of directors could approve a budget on Thursday that includes $35 million in improvement projects made possible from the agency’s operating surplus.

While other transit agencies struggle to reconcile yawning budget shortfalls, for the last several months BART’s board of directors has been contemplating how to spend a surplus that is around $35 million. The agency has identified a series of projects that could be funded by the surplus to improve the customer experience.

A large portion of the agency’s windfall — $24 million — comes from state sources and is dependent on the budget talks in Sacramento. While BART has been promised the funding, state legislators have snatched back money in the past, so the transit agency is waiting for a budget to pass before they start implementing some projects.

Regardless of the state funding situation, BART will have about $11 million around to pay for its most pressing needs — escalator rehabilitation, noise abatement and seat replacement — immediately after the budget is passed. If the state money is approved, BART will move forward with its second tier of project improvements.

On Thursday, the agency’s board of directors is expected to approve the budget proposal.

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Will Reisman

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