Boom Becomes Bust

February 17, 2023 General


The early 2000s were a boom time for SacRT. The agency completed the first phase of its light rail south corridor Blue Line in 2003 and the Gold Line was extended into Folsom in 2005. Voters extended the county’s transportation sales tax in 2004. Representatives of the cities of Folsom, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove joined the SacRT governing board. 

By mid-decade, SacRT offered robust service in a 418-square-mile area, with 1,240 employees, 104 full-time bus routes served by 279 buses and 76 light rail cars on 30 miles of track.  

Ridership rose across the decade, hitting an all-time high of 35 million in 2009. But the decade also saw the arrival of The Great Recession, forcing the state to cut transit funding. Other transit revenues diminished as well. In response, SacRT was forced to increase fares, as well as make budget and service cuts for several years late in the decade and into the next decade. The coming decade; however, would see a notable recovery by SacRT.