Metro's Proposed Budget: Fares and Wages the Same, Spending on Rail Construction Upped
Metro has completed and released a draft outlining their proposed $4.145 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12, and are prepping a public meeting to log feedback, as well as a directors' meeting this month before its adoption. Included in the budget are plans to keep fares the same (though including a temporary reduction of a Day Pass price to $5) and employee wages the same, with an overall spending increase of $247 million or 6.3 percent more than the current $3.898 billion Metro budget, according to Metro.
The increased spending can be attributed to "a significant expansion of the Measure R program in the next fiscal year," explains Metro. Here are some key aspects of the budget. Metro will be:
- Spending $1.164 billion on Measure R projects and programs is planned for 2011-2012 compared to $889 million in 2010-2011.
- Spending $22 million to operate the new Expo light rail line in FY 12.
- Negotiating new contracts with its major labor unions representing operators, maintenance employees and clerks.
- Trimming some unproductive bus lines that were either underutilized or that duplicate service operated by Metro, the municipal bus operators or by the expanding Metro Rail system.
- Spending 60% of the budget on enhancing the Metro bus and rail system, including tackling deferred maintenance that, in past years, helped plug spiraling operating deficits.
- Purchasing hundreds of new buses and light rail vehicles.
- Investing in such major bus improvements as an extension of the Metro Orange Line busway to Chatsworth now under construction.
- Spending 35% of the budget on the rail and highway capital program (includes the Expo Line, the Foothill Extension of the Metro Gold Line to Azusa, the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line, and highway projects including adding a northbound carpool lane on the I-405 between the Westside and San Fernando Valley and widening the I-5 freeway from the Orange County Line to the I-605).
- Spending 5% of the budget for developing real time customer information such as Nextrip that uses GPS technology to track when buses will arrive, preparing the Metro workforce for the next generation, ensuring financial sustainability and advancing Metro’s environmental efforts.
The public can check out the budget online (type in keyword budget in Search) or request a copy by calling Charlene Aguayo in Metro Records Services at (213) 922-2342. They will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 18, at 2:30 p.m. in the third floor Board room at Metro Headquarters. The directors could adopt the budget anytime following the public meeting until during their own meeting, scheduled for May 26th.