By Mallory Moench : sfchronicle – excerpt
BART’s board approved a cost-cutting plan Thursday that includes an employee retirement incentive package as the pandemic robs the train system of its ridership and some directors fear for the agency’s long-term financial viability.
BART covered expenses for the first three quarters of the fiscal year that ends in June 2021 with federal funding, but it faces a $33 million deficit in the fourth quarter. General Manager Bob Powers told the board Thursday he is “very confident” the seven-step cost-cutting plan will make ends meet by the end of the year, with Board President Lateefah Simon pledging, “We will close the gap.”
But the agency faces a projected $177 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. Leadership said a potential change in the federal administration after the election would likely bring funding, but wouldn’t solve long-term problems…
The approved seven-step plan to save money includes making contracting more efficient, continuing a hiring freeze, offering a retirement incentive program and reassigning staff to capital projects…(more)
Here is an idea for BART and the public transit agencies to save money. Why don’t they drop their capital projects, drop expansion projects, get out of the real estate development business, and get back to the basics of running a transit agency. If they are in dire financial straights, it may be time to lay off their planning department.