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Union Givebacks Could Restore BART, Muni Cuts

File photo of MUNI train
File photo of MUNI train

Partially restored transportation budgets in San Francisco and the Bay Area put buses and trains back at the top of the news agenda.

The Municipal Transportation Agency plans to gradually roll back this year’s budget cuts by July 2011, and BART is still contemplating how it should use an unexpected operating budget surplus of $18.4 million.

On Thursday the San Francisco Chronicle reported on an agreement between Muni and its unions that would save the transportation agency more than $18 million. The agreement entails concessions from train operators that is the equivalent to giving up a raise. It has yet to be voted on and accepted by the rank and file.

If approved, the 55 percent of service that was eliminated in the beginning of May would be restored by September 4 and all service by July 2011. Seeing what the Muni operators have to lose, Mayor Gavin Newsom told the Chronicle: “They have a lot at stake. I don’t expect to see what we saw with the last tentative agreement.”

On Friday, SF Streetsblog reported on Thursday’s BART board meeting, which addressed what the agency should do with its $18.4 million surplus. BART received $26 million of State Transit Assistance funds from California last month and has paid down its deficit of $7.6 million. Board members discussed how they should spend the remainder of state money. Some options:

  • a temporary fee rollback
  • maintenance and facility upkeep
  • saving the money BART staff want to spend more on infrastructure.

They presented a $777.4 million fiscal year 2011 preliminary capital budget, up from 2010’s $584.8 million. Director Lynne Sweet told the Streetsblog, “Last year at this time we were looking at a much different picture, a much bleaker picture.”

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