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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

3/4/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

California legislators transfer millions in transit funds to cover budget deficit


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Late last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California lawmakers diverted even more funding earmarked for transit agencies to help close the state's budget deficit, according to the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE) — and then approved eliminating the state's transit operating fund completely beginning with the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

 

The State Transit Assistance (STA) budget, which had been funded at $306 million, recently was cut to $150 million for the 2008-2009 fiscal years — hundreds of millions less than what's due to state transit agencies under a voter-approved funding formula. The STA, which serves as the primary source of operating funds for California transit agencies, then would be abolished completely in the next fiscal year. 

 

The budget cuts are on top of the $1.8 billion in current-year transit-dedicated funds that were diverted to the state's general fund, CFTE said. So, expect transit agencies to hike fares, cut service and lay off workers, California Transit Association Executive Director Joshua Shaw told CFTE.

"I can say that with certainty simply because we've already seen those things happening even before the state apparently decided to abandon its responsibility to fund public transportation," he said in a CFTE newsletter.



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