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Metro Budget Planning Document Contains Some Revelations

8:25 AM PST on March 11, 2011

As Metro prepares its budget for the forthcoming 2012 fiscal year (which commences July 1) certain assumptions underlie the numbers. These budget planning parameters are outlined in a document being presented to the Metro Board Finance and Budget Committee on Wednesday March 16th. Here are a few of the revelatory highlights of the assumptions:

* No change to fare structure and a 4.0% increase in boardings primarily as a result of the opening of Phase I of the Expo light rail line.

* State Transit Assistance (STA) of $96.2 million thanks to the passage of Proposition 22 last year.

* Introduce a one to two year Entry Level Trainee Program (ELTP) to allow departments to provide work experience for recent four-year college graduates or above who are interested in careers in public transportation, to be budgeted at an average salary of $20/ hour.

* Rail revenue service hours (RSH) to increase 68,892 hours for Expo I, and 42,257 for existing lines.

* Bus RSH to decrease by 582,000 from the FYI I1 budget mostly due to service changes to be implemented in mid to late FYI 11.

* Expo phase 1 begins revenue service on November 15,2011.

Of course that date for the Expo opening isn't set in stone, and is dependent on construction somewhat continuing at its current pace (which to be charitable has been erratic over the course of the project) and that revenue emulation testing goes smoothly for 4-6 weeks prior to opening. I'm fascinated Metro staff have publicly claimed the current service proposals have no set target for revenue service hours reductions; obviously Metro's budget crunchers are not in step with that and have very definite targets for reductions that the current round of changes are supposed to produce. As often happens at Metro, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is up to...

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