Officials of the AC Transit bus agency took the first step this week that they project will end with the elimination or reduction of bus lines within the two-county district sometime later this year.
While there has been widespread speculation about what lines may be cut, district staff has not yet produced a recommended list of such cuts.
On Wednesday, members of the AC Transit Board of Directors held a brief public hearing 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 regular 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 Wednesday’s 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 they 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 “consider[ed] it a secret public hearing.” District officials said that the hearing had been properly noticed, and Board Member Chris Peeples said 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.”