Even if BART can manage to get voters to agree to that $3.5 billion infrastructure bond they want to put on the November ballot, it's not like all their money worries will come to an end. Yes, they say, they will finally be able to afford to fix their admittedly-decrepit infrastructure. But in a move that seems all too common for the priority-impaired agency, BART has entered into a new labor agreement with workers' unions without any idea how to pay for the $77 million in increased wages included in the contract.
The news that BART settled a contract with its workers ahead of the 2017 deadline was a bright spot in what's been a bleak year for the transit agency, which has been beset with criticism for a mysterious voltage spike that snarled transit for weeks — criticism strong enough that one staffer took to Twitter to (indirectly) convince followers that that 3.5 billion in bond bucks is just what they needed to get things (ahem) back on track.
But that bond measure money wouldn't cover the dough agreed to in the labor deal, the Chron reports, which includes 10.8 percent in raises for staff and an agreement not to strike for the next five years.
As noted in a February report from the Chron, BART also has a "'me too' policy that gives managers raises that match what the unions negotiate," which is why all staff — not just union members — received $3.3 million in annual bonuses last and, presumably, this year.
All in all, reports the Chron, the new increases agreed to in the contract will cost BART an extra $77 million over the next five years. Since "ridership has maxed out and sales tax revenues that help fund day-to-day operations are slowing," how will BART make the money? Fare hike? Bake sale?
Well, it won't be a fare increase, BART General Manager Grace Crunican says, asserting that other than those scheduled hikes determined by inflation the prices you pay to ride BART will not be going up.
OK, so, how then? Who knows! It's a mystery even to BART board members like eastern Contra Costa director Joel Keller, who tells the Chron that “That’s what we are waiting to find out."
Waiting for what, Joel, to see how much money your seat hog law rakes in? Maybe you guys need to get cracking on that bake sale, after all.
Previously: BART Having Come-To-Jesus Moment About Where It's Been Spending Its Money
Man Behind BART's Honest Tweets: 'Public Transit Has Always Been About Politics
BART's Actually Gotten More Reliable Over Last Seven Years, Not Less — Are They Just Crying Poverty?
As BART Cries Poor On Twitter, They Hand Out $3.3 Million In Bonuses
BART And Workers' Unions Reach Tentative Labor Deal Ahead Of 2017 Contract
Manspreaders Beware: BART 'Seat Hog' Ordinance Passes