A Deeper Look in the Metro Budget: Goodbye $5 Day Passes?
The Source reports at Thursday’s Board meeting the Metro Board adopted the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget. This goes into effect July 1st.
Frank Shapiro, Deputy Executive Officer, Finance for the agency made an informative presentation on the budget proposal at the March 23rd meeting of Metro’s Citizens’ Advisory Council.
Several key points he mentioned that I think Streetsblog’s readers will find of interest:
While the budget doesn’t include a fare increase for fy2013 it assumes the day pass will go back to being $6 as of July 1, when the temporary reduction to $5 expires. Keeping it at $5 would require a vote of the Metro Board. The one remaining Board meeting before the change occurs will be in late June and we’ll see if they decide at that point to extend the reduced price (plus whether for just another year or longer). Which would entail the finance folks having to engage in some hurried number crunching to get the budget back in balance due to the lost revenue.
Many will be glad to know this budget facilitates “extended night service for Metro Rail, increasing the frequency of services on all rail lines and providing additional trips on high capacity bus lines to reduce overcrowding and enhance service reliability” (see p.4 under the heading Improved Service & Programs). I’m looking forward to more details on this.
Per a motion of Directors Knabe and DuBois staff are in the coming months to prepare a plan for the creation of a construction coordination office (which sounds like a good idea to me).
A late addition (see attachment C) to the budget is the allocation of $35 million to commence construction of Division 13 (for storage and maintenance of buses, located adjacent to the Metro headquarters building), to be funded with 80% Federal Grants and 20% Local Funds. There is a page on the Metro website that describes this project.
Back in 2008, I remember reading a report on Metro’s dire need for new bus yards. Recently it was unclear just what the status of the Division 13 project was. From some comments Mr. Shapiro made at the aforementioned presentation I am given to understand Metro management considered options and also mulled delaying the start of the project before deciding to instead commence it in the forthcoming fiscal year. Let us hope construction isn’t too disruptive for the surrounding area, especially the Gateway Transit Plaza.