BART takes a bite from recession
OAKLAND — The recession is putting the bite on the Bay Are Rapid Transit System.
BART officials said Tuesday the transit system is looking at a $32 million deficit for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in June. To meet the challenge, BART is moving toward running shorter trains, delaying some projects and perhaps even laying people off.
A year ago, ridership was at an all-time high. But it’s down 7 percent – and fare revenues are down 6 percent. Even worse, revenue from a half-cent sales tax is down 9 percent.
“The challenge in public transit when times are lean is to cut costs but not cut service,” BART Director Dan Richard said. “Because service cuts lead to ridership loss, which leads to revenue loss. You don’t want to get into that cycle.”
Among the steps BART is considering are to cut 10-car trains to nine cars, as well as to reduce service for special events like concerts or sporting events. BART would also eliminate 78 jobs, 53 of which are already vacant.
BART directors will take up the problem at the board meeting Thursday.
Mile of Bay Bridge receives funding
SAN FRANCISCO — Caltrans officials awarded a $1.04 billion contract Tuesday – the largest in the agency’s history – for construction of a nearly mile-long stretch of the eastern Bay Bridge replacement span.
The work to be done by Kiewit/FCI/Mason Joint Venture will take four years to complete and will cost $300 million more than the most recently revised Caltrans estimate.
State transportation officials also said Tuesday that the span work on the bridge should resume later this week or early next week. The project was halted after Oakland painter Darryl Clemons was killed in an accident Jan. 4.
Caltrans spokesman Jeff Weiss said the project’s contractor has submitted a safety plan. The plan calls for a report by an “independent safety auditor.” The plan will also assign full-time field safety officers to the job to assess hazardous conditions and work practices.