COVID has hit the transportation sector hard. Recently, Delta and its unions agreed to temporarily reduce pay. But last week BART agreed to increase pay. Such profligacy isn’t rare. Eg, BART also provides a redundant benefit known as “Retiree Medical Benefits” that annually costs $39 million, an amount equal to 21 percent of BART’s expected operating revenue this year.
BART’s Retiree Medical Benefits aren’t necessary. That’s because retirees aged 65 and over are covered by Medicare and the rest are protected by Covered California, which provides generous subsidies to all Californians — including those with high levels of income such as BART retirees, who can retire as early as age 50 with sizable pensions.
Covered California’s limits are so high that families of four with annual income up to $155,000 can get subsidies. BART needn’t provide more.
Taxpayers supply BART with nearly $700 million of assistance per year. Next time BART’s board asks for more money, lawmakers should tell them to look in the mirror.