BART finished the 2021-22 fiscal year with a balanced budget due in large part to federal relief funding and more sales tax revenue than expected, budget officials with the transit agency said Thursday.
While daily fare revenue across the system remained low, generating $30.6 million less than the transit agency had expected in the final budget it adopted in June 2021, BART received $49 million more than expected in sales tax revenue.
That increase was driven partially by inflation, according to BART budget officials. Meanwhile, total passenger trips fell roughly 20% short of the totals expected in the adopted budget.
The transit agency also spent $61 million less than expected, with roughly two-thirds of that total due to unfilled labor positions.
Even with the increased revenue and savings, though, BART still faced a $286.7 million deficit before federal relief funding was applied to close the gap.
BART received $57.5 million more than expected in federal relief, with $275.9 million coming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and $167.3 million in one-time relief from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
Budget officials had originally planned to need $385.7 million in relief funding, according to Katherine Alagar, BART's manager of operating budgets.
"The saving will be applied to costs in future years, thus extending the district's fiscal runway," Alagar told the transit agency's Board of Directors on Thursday.
Earlier this year, BART officials projected the agency's fiscal cliff to come some time in mid-2025 considering current ridership trends and the amount of federal relief funding to which the agency still has access.