BART announces another $4M surplus


For a second year in a row the rail agency has ended up with a budget surplus of nearly $9 million; $4.5 million that BART already knew was there and as they announced on Wednesday, there is another $4 million.

"No we did not win the lottery," says BART Director Carole Ward Allen. "This money came from the state and we ended up with a surplus and we decided to make some decisions. As a board we want to do something that will help our customers."

Although the extra funds are considered miniscule compared to the agencies $700 million a year operating budget, BART says it comes from belt tightening.

"They paid great attention to detail over the past couple of years and saw this bad economy coming and they said we've got to make some cuts, we've got to match our expenses with our revenues," says BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.

The unexpected $4 million is expected to go towards the capital reserve fund.

Of the $4.5 million, BART already knew about, $2.3 million is slated for capital improvements and there's a possible 3 percent price rollback to riders, but only for four months -- saving commuters the price of a cup of coffee.

In order for BART to give passengers a break in their ticket fares, they will have to spend money too close to $500,000 to reprint brochures, reprogram their ticket gates and also their clipper cards. Remember that's just for four months and after that they will have to change them all again.

That's not sitting well with riders.

"No, just clean the cars and make the trains run correctly. I don't want the price break for four months if they have to reprint everything. It's a waste of money," said BART rider Latasha Ervin.

That is exactly what BART heard from riders last may when they took a survey about what to do with the surplus.

The board will meet on Thursday. If the fare rollback is approved, riders can expect a break in early October.

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