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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Santa Clara VTA approves fare increase acceleration

On Aug. 6, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors approved accelerating a fare increase from January 2010 to October 2009 to help combat a continuing decline in sales revenue. The fare increase acceleration includes changes to paratransit fares, paratransit services and scheduling options.

The measure should generate $1 million in revenue, according to the VTA board, which approved the fare increase in June when it authorized the 2010-11 budget.

In the third quarter of FY2009, sales tax receipts fell by 21 percent, representing a loss of $5.8 million; VTA’s budget projected an 8 percent decline in the same period. The decline exacerbated the budget deficit the agency “has been working diligently to address in recent months,” according to a prepared statement. In June, VTA’s budget gap was $30 million. With the latest decline in sales tax revenue, the gap has increased to $36 million.

“The state has de-funded public transportation and the sales tax revenues continue to significantly decrease due to the recession,” said VTA General Manager Michael Burns. “We have implemented many cost-saving strategies, but we need to continue to look for other means to fill in the growing budget deficit.”

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More News from 8/10/2009