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Mass Transit: Review of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s Airport Extension Finance Plan
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  • Abstract:
    Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Bay Area Rapid Transit District's (BART) finance plan for an airport extension, focusing on: 1. BART's proposed grant amendment and revised project completion schedule; 2 the reasonableness of the assumptions contained in the finance plan. GAO noted: 1. BART requested the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) amend the grant agreement to reflect the project's increased costs and new funding arrangements; 2. the amendment would also change the estimated opening date to July 1, 2002; 3. current construction is about 8 weeks behind the latest estimate, but BART's contractor and the contractor FTA hired to oversee the project believes the July 2002 opening date is still feasible; 4. the proposed amendment would change the project's scope by allowing BART to spend $70 million on maintenance improvements rather than buy 28 new railcars at a cost of $100 million, as anticipated in the original grant agreement; 5. BART's finance plan contains reasonable cost and financing assumptions and demonstrated that it has the financial capacity to pay for the current $1.483 billion estimated cost of the project; 6. BART's new project cost estimate is the result of a comprehensive cost review and includes revised higher construction contract costs; 7. BART has secured commitments from state and local sources to fund costs; 8. furthermore, BART has obtained a $300 million line of credit, secured by future federal funds and an additional $60 million loan from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to help alleviate expected cash-flow problems; 9. BART has proposed a capital reserve account backed by revenue from parking fees if it needs to pay costs above the current $1.483 billion estimate; 10. the contractor hired by FTA to oversee the project proposed that BART provide an additional $27 million for contingencies.

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