The agenda for tomorrow is slim, with no supporting materials. Since January, though, at Metro’s monthly Finance, Budget and Audit committee meetings there have been a number of presentations outlining what to expect in the upcoming budget:
- January: FY16 Budget Planning Parameters – report [PDF] handout [PDF]
- February: FY16 Capital Program Budget – report [PDF] handout [PDF]
- March: FY16 Operations Budget – report [PDF]
- April: FY16 Budget (overall – focused on staffing) – report [PDF] handout [PDF]
- April: FY16 Budget (public engagement – not particularly informative) – report [PDF] handout [PDF]
The budget is, of course, massively important in showing what an agency actually prioritizes. It is also a massively opaque document and not a great opportunity for the public to easily leverage changes. I also cannot claim to be any kind of budgetary expert. In the past I mostly paid attention to the 0.0 percent of the Metro budget that went to walking and bicycling. Nonetheless, I’ve been paying some attention to the bigger picture this year and I’ll pass on some highlights.
Metro’s proposed FY16 budget totals $5.568 billion in expenditures. This is a $53.4 million (one percent) increase from the $5.515 billion in the FY15 budget. The $5.6 billion breaks into roughly thirds:
- Engineering and Construction: $1.84 billion (33.1 percent)
- Operations: $1.73 billion (31.0 percent)
- Support Services – includes financing: $1.07 billion (28.6 percent)
The overall revenue picture, as far as I can tell, is less clear. I haven’t found an overall income breakdown.
Perhaps the most contentious item on the revenue side would be fares. Metro’s overall budget assumes “no adjustments in fare structure from the September 15, 2014 fare increase” including maintaining the current student fare, which was frozen at that time. The FY16 estimated fare revenue of $363.2 million, a 3.5 percent increase from FY15’s $351.1 million, is due to a full year of the fare increase, plus some additional ridership increase from the Expo Phase 2 and Gold line Foothill Extension rail lines expected to open in early to mid-2016.
Overall the FY16 budget assumes no increase in bus service. The only additional transit service planned will be the new Expo and Gold Line extensions.The FY16 budget assumes that Metro ridership will continue to decline by 5 percent in FY16. Read more…