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June 22, 2004 > Transit Cuts Alert

Transit Cuts Alert

State Budget Threatens Bay Area Transit Service

A broad coalition is working to reverse a proposal to backfill the State budget with local transit funds. This funding grab, released as part of Governor Schwarzenegger's May 2004 "revise" to the FY 04-05 state budget, includes taking $20 million away from AC Transit - almost 10 percent of its operating budget - $9 million from BART, and half a million dollars from Marin County Transit District. If adopted, the plan would force these three transit districts to make severe service cuts. An additional $20 million cut in AC Transit's operating budget would be the equivalent of cutting all weekend service, while for BART a $9 million cut is equivalent to its Sunday service. For Marin County Transit District, a $500,000 loss would place at risk its paratransit service to hundreds of elderly and disabled residents.

The proposal is part of a deal that the Administration negotiated in which local government agreed to two more years of property tax shifts to the state, in exchange for the Administration's support for a constitutional amendment that locks in local government revenue from state raids in the future. Only four entities in the state (including the City and County of Los Angeles) are being asked to sacrifice more than AC Transit.

This proposal comes at a difficult time for Bay Area transit operators who have faced major deficits for the past few years and have instituted fare increases, service cuts, as well as lay offs. Carrying over 500,000 transit riders daily, AC Transit and BART are a critical component of the region's transit system. Many of their transit riders are school children that rely on transit for their commute to and from school as well as people with no transportation alternatives.

To fight this cut, MTC and many other Bay Area transportation organizations are urging Bay Area lawmakers to reclassify transit as an "essential service" (like public safety, fire and hospitals) so that they would then be exempt from this property tax shift sought by the Administration.

If You Are Concerned, Please Take Action Today!
If you have an opinion on the Governor's proposal, express it immediately by contacting the Governor's office and your local state representative.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
(916) 445-2841
For AC Transit only, press 5 for "Hot Issues", press 5 again for AC Transit, press 2 to oppose the cuts.
For AC, BART and Marin County, press 7 for the main constituent number. The more people who call this number, the more chance that BART and Marin will be added to the list of "Hot Issues."
Bay Area Legislators in affected counties:
Senator John Burton (415) 557-1300 / (916) 445-1212
(San Francisco and Marin counties)
Senator Don Perata (510) 286-1333 / (916) 445-6577 (Alameda and Contra Costa counties)
Senator Liz Figueroa (510) 413-5960 / (916) 445-6671 (Alameda County)
Senator Tom Torlakson (925) 602-6593 / (916) 445-6083 (Contra Costa County)
Senator Jackie Speier (415) 557-7857 / (916) 445-0503 (San Francisco County)
Assemblymember Joe Canciamilla (925) 372-7990 / (916) 319-2011 (Contra Costa County)
Assemblymember Wilma Chan (510) 286-1670 / (916) 319-2016 (Alameda County)
Assemblymember Ellen Corbett (510) 614-0180 / (916) 319-2018 (Alameda County)
Assemblymember John Dutra (510) 440-9030 / (916) 319-2020 (Alameda County)
Assemblymember Loni Hancock (510) 559-1406 / (916) 319-2014 (Alameda and Contra Costa counties)
Assemblymember Joe Nation (415) 479-492 / (916) 319-2006 (Marin County)

Assemblymember Leland Yee (415) 557-2312 / (916) 319-2012 (San Francisco County)

Assemblymember Mark Leno (415) 557-3013 / (916) 319-2013 (San Francisco County)

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