In an effort to close a $25 million budget gap, BART directors will have to layoff employees or raise fares and slash service again, the Chron reports. At its meeting on Thursday, the BART board will consider a 25-cent surcharge on trips through the Transbay Tube, a 2 percent general fare hike, and a daily parking fee based on market rates. The agency also will consider eliminating direct service from Richmond and Fremont to San Francisco. The changes could save BART $23.5 million. But there is one way that BART could avoid many of the fare increases and service cuts — kill the controversial Oakland airport connector.
If the agency were to scuttle the $500 million project in the wake of a threat by federal transit officials to kill it themselves, then BART stands to receive at least $17 million in federal stimulus funds for operations. These funds could be used immediately to help solve the $25 million budget problem. BART, however, appears determined to plow ahead with the airport connector, which will serve a relatively small number of passengers, and raise fares and cut service for the vast majority of its customers.