BART passes $1.82 billion budget emphasizing reinvestment

OAKLAND (BCN)— BART's Board of Directors passed a $1.82 billion budget for the next fiscal year today, allocating more for system rehabilitation and anticipating slowing growth in tax and fare revenue.
   
The budget is an increase from last year's $1.6 billion budget but anticipates only a 5 percent increase in revenue growth as ridership in many areas has reached capacity and sales tax revenue growth is expected to slow.

Budget projections over the next decade show a possible budget shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars.
   
Despite the possibility of deficits in the coming years, the budget passed today is balanced, according to BART figures.
   
The $888.5 million capital budget includes funding for the completion of the extension to the Warm Springs neighborhood in Fremont expected to open later this year, part of a planned expansion to San Jose, and for an expansion to Antioch slated for completion in 2018.
   
But the budget continues the recent trend of BART funding moving away from expansion projects and toward core infrastructure improvement, investing $219 million more in system rehabilitation than in 2016.
   
As recently as 2012, 46 percent of BART's capital budget was devoted to system expansion while less than a third was reinvested into existing infrastructure.
   
That has shifted significantly this year, and the budget passed today allocates more than two-thirds of the capital budget for system reinvestment and only 12 percent to expansion projects, including those already underway.
   
The system reinvestment projects funded this year include rehabilitation of several stations, including at Powell Street, Balboa Park, 19th Street, El Cerrito del Norte, Concord, and Downtown Berkeley.
   
But despite the massive recent reinvestment in system expansion, the BART Board of Directors sees it as insufficient, also approving a proposed $3.5 billion infrastructure bond measure for the November ballot.
   
The bond would partially fund an estimated $9 billion in necessary system improvements, essentially a total rebuild of the existing system, including trackway, electrical systems, train control infrastructure and stations.
 

Watch the BART board measure announcement here

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