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Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, BART riders will pay slightly higher train fares to help pay for new train cars and other projects, according to BART officials.
BART passengers will pay, on average, an extra 19 cents per ride to finance projects that BART officials say will ensure reliable, safe and clean train service for the Bay Area in the coming years.
The BART Board of Directors voted in February to continue BART's inflation-based fare increase program, in place since 2003.
The projects supported by the program will aim to replace and improve BART's "aging system." This includes purchasing Fleet of the Future train cars, a new train control system to improve reliability and to allow more trains to run more frequently, and the expansion of and improvements to the Hayward Maintenance Complex to serve the new fleet and support future service to Silicon Valley.
The inflation-based fare increase program means that predictable, but small changes to the prices are made, instead of larger increases with little notice, BART officials said.
The renewal of the program means that fare increases will continue every two years until 2020 and is expected to generate $325 million for the new programs.
"BART is required to come up with a portion of funding for many of our capital projects in order to qualify to receive extra money from other sources," BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. "BART must pay $800 million toward the cost of new rail cars -- this fare increase will help us achieve
The first increase will be 5.2 percent, according to BART officials.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:49:51 -0800
A minivan plowed into the side of a San Rafael elementary school Thursday evening, causing a gas leak and potentially shutting down the school Friday, according to the San Rafael fire chief.
The van hit the side of Laurel Dell Elementary School at 225 Woodland Ave. right at the PG&E service connections for gas and electric at 5:47 p.m., fire Chief Chris Gray said.
The collision caused the gas line to rupture and knocked out electricity in the building. Two people in the van suffered minor injuries, Gray said.
But, given the leaking gas and damaged electric equipment, Gray said that firefighters managed to avert what could have been a much larger catastrophe.
A holiday concert was planned at the school Thursday night, and firefighters helped students move props to a nearby church so that the show could go on.
The school remained without power and gas tonight and it was unclear whether school would be canceled Friday morning, Gray said.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:45:46 -0800
A budget pact now in the hands of the U.S. Senate will encounter strong but probably futile resistance from Republicans after a sweeping vote in the House saw the majority Republicans and President Barack Obama's Democratic allies reach a rare bipartisan agreement.
The modest package passed by the House on Thursday would ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month. Supporters of the measure easily beat back attacks on it from conservative organizations that sometimes raise money by stoking conflict within the Republican Party.
At the same time, Democrats who were upset that the bill would not extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed suppressed their doubts to advance the measure to the Democratic-led Senate, which appears set to clear it next week for Obama's signature.
Senate Democrats promise to force a vote on extending unemployment benefits when the chamber reconvenes next year. They hope that political pressure after 1.3 million people lose their benefits on Dec. 28 will force Republican leaders to extend aid averaging under $300 a week to people who've been out of work longer than six months.
The bipartisan bill breezed through the House on a 332-94 vote, with lopsided majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike voting in favor.
Thursday's vote was a big win for Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who earlier in the day criticized conservative interest groups that routinely attack Republicans for supporting legislation they deem not conservative enough. But that is what Republicans can achieve given the realities of a divided Washington.
The measure would bring a temporary cease-fire to the budget wars that have gridlocked Washington for much of the three years since Republicans reclaimed control of the House. It leaves in place the bulk of $1 trillion or so in automatic cuts slamming the Pentagon, domestic agencies and Medicare providers through 2021 but eases an especially harsh set of cuts for 2014 and 2015.
Nobody is claiming the pact worked out between high-profile Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee last year, and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray is perfect. It eases $63 billion in scheduled spending cuts over the next two years and replaces them with longer-term savings measured over 10 years, many of which don't accumulate until 2022-2023. Deficits would increase by $23.2 billion in 2014 and by $18.2 billion the year after that.
But the deal would put a dysfunctional Washington on track to prevent unappealingly tough cuts to military readiness and weapons, as well as continued cuts to programs cherished by Democrats and Republicans alike, including health research, school aid, FBI salaries and border security. The cuts would be replaced with money from, among other things, higher airline security fees, curbs on the pension benefits of new federal workers or working-age military retirees, and premium increases on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government.
The Ryan-Murray pact uses a combination of mostly low-profile cuts and new fee revenues, much of which won't occur until after the turn of the next decade, to ease cuts mandated by the inability of official Washington to follow up a 2011 budget pact with additional deficit cuts.
Those cuts were intended to be so fearsome that they would force the capital's warring factions to make budget peace. Instead, after the first-year impact of so-called sequestration wasn't as bad as advertised, many Republicans have come to embrace them. The Ryan-Murray deal recognizes that the second year of the automatic cuts would be worse than the first, especially for the Pentagon, and seeks to ease their pain.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:34:10 -0800 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories