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BART Directors Will Discuss How to Spend Surplus

Seat covers, cleaner trains, reliable escalators among the projects being considered.

How would you spend an extra $10 million to $20 million?

That's one of the things the BART board of directors will be discussing when they meet Thursday morning in Oakland.

The transit agency board will be presented with the district's proposed $611 million budget for the 2012 fiscal year.

The budget is projected to have a surplus of $10 million to $28 million. The high-end projection is if Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget is approved as submitted.

BART officials say if the surplus is $28 million, they will have money to buy new seat covers and cushions, clean up their silver cars and make improvements to escalators. They also would like to upgrade their system's rail grinding capabilities to make the trains quieter.

If the surplus is less, they will do some but not all of those projects.

"We would have to look at the projects, establish priorities and reassess," said James Allison, a BART spokesman.

BART officials say they have the surplus because of a moderate rise in ridership and sales tax revenue. They also say the district implemented a hiring freeze and cut positions through attrition several years ago when district managers first noticed declining economic conditions.

"We made a lot of difficult, hard decisions," said Allison.

There are no fare increases listed in the proposed budget. The next fare increase is scheduled for July 1, 2012. That is the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Jojo Potato April 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM
Here's an idea, how about not spending it. Save it, or at least most of it for that rainy day. Whoops, I must have drifted into some alternate universe where politicians don't feel the need to spend every penny that's available. Maybe have no fare increase in 2012? Is there a requirement that the fares always go up? Let's try something different for a change.

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