MTD Buys $2.8 Million Worth of Time

The Metropolitan Transit District board voted to “attempt” to dip into the district’s capital funds to the tune of $2.8 million to cover a major shortfall caused when the Department of Labor ordered a freeze of funds that the bus service has come to rely upon. Should the district succeed in cannibalizing its capital funds, MTD can get by until next January without making service cuts. However, the district has scheduled a public workshop for 5/28 to discuss how it will rank its current menu of services when preparing for possible service cuts if the impasse is not resolved. The Dept. of Labor got involved when the Teamsters local representing MTD bus drivers objected that the district was imposing a new two-tiered retirement plan that would require new employees to pay considerably more into their own retirement than existing drivers do. Such changes, the union contended, should be negotiated at the bargaining table. MTD administrators claim the new rule is required by the California Pension Reform Act, which the State Legislature passed last year. The drivers’ contract with the district expired last year, too, and they have been working without a contract for nearly 12 months. Typically, MTD gets two major infusions of federal transit funds a year; combined, they total $4.6 million out of a $22 million operating budget.

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