Railroad News

BART OKs 2021 budget, awards new HQ design-build contract

Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) board last week approved a $2.42 billion capital and operating budget for fiscal-year 2021, which begins July 1.

The budget focuses on increased investment in passenger and employee safety and provides the ability to adapt train service levels to match changes in ridership, BART officials said in a press release.

COVID-19 related expenses add $44 million to the budget in added costs related to enhanced cleaning regimens, the purchase of of hand sanitizer, investment in personal protection equipment (PPE) for employees, and increased communication and education to the public about new protocols.

The operating budget uses $251 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds to maintain service levels, avoid transit worker layoffs and to purchase PPE.

Additionally, the operating budget estimates BART will be eligible for $20 million in reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for COVID-19 related expenses. 

The budget also includes $146 million in cost reductions from eliminating vacant budgeted positions, reducing non-labor expenses, and scaling back operating allocations, which primarily fund capital projects.

“Coming up with a budget in these uncertain times has been like walking a tightrope,” said BART Board President Lateefah Simon. “It has been a true team effort, with BART’s labor unions working very hard to partner with management to find solutions along with federal emergency funds helping to keep trains running.”

BART has developed two scenarios for ridership guided by the pace of the San Francisco region’s recovery. The scenarios have ridership for the year averaging as high as 50 percent and as low as 15 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The budget's anticipated fare revenue is based on the midpoint between the two scenarios at 122,000 daily riders, agency officials said. In comparison, the FY2020 budget based fare revenue on an average weekday ridership of 404,900. 

Because ridership and other revenue sources are expected to remain highly variable, BART staff will revise the budget in three months, if necessary, BART officials said.

Meanwhile, BART’s board also last week awarded a $58 million contract to Turner Construction Co. and RIM Architecture to design and build the new BART headquarters in Oakland, California. 

Work under the contract will include furnishing, management coordination, professional services, labor, equipment, materials and other services to perform the design and construction of the new BART Headquarters.

Turner and RIM has committed to 32 percent small business participation in its work. The contract includes a  liquidated damages provision should the contractor fail to meet its established commitment to small business. 

This spring, BART is scheduled to move from its current headquarters at 300 Lakeside Drive to the new headquarters at 2150 Webster Street.

The $142 million purchase of the building with closing costs and $85 million in interior construction has been financed by a 25-year sales tax bond.

 

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