BART approves temporary budget

June 11, 2009 6:34:54 PM PDT
BART's board of directors has approved a temporary budget that still leaves a gap, will cost riders more, and depends on labor give-backs they haven't agreed to. The directors wrapped their meeting around 5 p.m. Thursday evening, but still left a lot of unanswered questions.

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The budget approval basically sets up a standoff with labor unions. The board approved a budget with a $22 million gap that they're not sure how they'll be able to close. The board is counting on pension and benefit give-backs from its unions. They're in negotiations now with a June 30 deadline.

BART says they have a four-year, $250 million deficit to deal with, so passengers will start paying more on July 1, 2009. They also say service will be reduced on nights and weekends.

Unions are, so far, vehemently opposed to paying more of their benefits and pensions. Union leadership says they're being railroaded and are being asked to pay for BART's own mismanagement.

BART has asked Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California to deny a request for a cooling off period, should there be one.

BART says that if it fails to close that $22 million gap through the labor negotiations, they'll have to revisit service cuts and fare increases.

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