Financial Woes at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Gary Richards reports from the Silicon Valley, where the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is dealing with a $25 million annual operating deficit and considering drastic measures like cuts in bus service, buyouts of retirement age employees, and fare increases.
"Over the last six years, operating expenses have grown twice as fast as revenues. Sales taxes account for roughly 80 percent of VTA’s income, but the rate of growth has slowed while expenses continue to increase," according to Richards. The VTA has been dipping into capital reserves to cover operating costs, but that money is running out quickly.
Richards indicates that a VTA committee has already figured out how much they can save by various measures—$15 million a year on reduced bus service and $2 million in higher fares. The VTA has also commissioned a report by Jarrett Walker and Associates that recommends adjusting bus routes to a high frequency grid.