AC Transit Takes First Step Towards Projected Bus Line Cuts

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 29, 2009 - 08:59:00 AM

AC Transit officials took the first step Wednesday toward eliminating or reducing bus lines. The cuts are expected to be implemented later this year. 

While there has been widespread speculation about which lines may be cut, district staff has not yet produced recommendations. 

The AC Transit Board of Directors held a brief public hearing Wednesday on the district’s “Intent to Declare A Fiscal Emergency For the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year.” Consideration of the fiscal emergency declaration, which the board has scheduled for its June 24 meeting, is necessary for the district to implement service cuts without the need of either a full environmental review or a declaration of negative environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

In support of the proposed declaration of a fiscal emergency, AC Transit General Counsel Ken Scheidig prepared a memo for the public hearing that included a one-page, 10-figure attachment projecting that the district would have a negative balance of $9.7 million in working capital as of June 30, 2010. 

Only three members of the public spoke at Wednesday’s hearing. None of them challenged AC Transit’s fiscal situation, but instead complained that the district had not given sufficient public notice for the hearing. Oakland transportation advocate Joyce Roy, a frequent AC Transit critic, said that she considered it “a secret public hearing.” District officials said the hearing had been properly noticed, with board member Chris Peeples saying that “instead of procedural issues … we need to focus on the substantive issues,” which Peeples said included “what service cuts are going to be made.”