Bus

OCTA: New Calif. budget will impact services

Posted on February 19, 2009

Following a three-month impasse, which culminated in an all-night compromise session and a vote at dawn Thursday, the California Legislature passed a budget package that addresses the state's massive deficit with billions of dollars in new taxes and program cuts, including to transit.

The State Transit Assistance program, the only ongoing source of state funding for day-to-day transit operations, was slashed for the remainder of this year and completely eliminated from the 2009-2010 budget. Statewide, this could mean a total of $536 million hit to public transportation, according to the Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority (OCTA), which adds that this action will result in a loss of more than $21 million for the agency through the fiscal year ending June 30.

“Not only is this is a significant short-term loss for OCTA but it demonstrates an utter lack of commitment to public transportation at a time when ridership throughout the state has been on the rise,” said OCTA Chairman Peter Buffa. “Balancing the budget for the next two years presents a daunting challenge for the board of directors.”

Plummeting state sales tax revenue also will result in a $19 million loss for OCTA, all while the agency is facing a more than $40 million shortfall in this year’s $263 million budget.

For their part, OCTA has been bracing for this hit during the months of ongoing state budget negotiations by adding a fare increase of approximately 25 percent in January, making minor cuts to bus services, and implementing a hiring freeze and cutting capital expenses. 

Moving forward, the board is expected to eliminate raises and bonuses for administrative employees beginning July 1. Additional service reductions are anticipated and further cost-cutting measures will be necessary.

OCTA operates 80 bus routes and handled nearly 69 million boardings in 2008.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Albuquerque BRT project exploring full sponsorship

ABQ RIDE is looking to model its plan after the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine, which is sponsored through a hospital partnership. Construction on the so-called ART system could begin in May 2016 with an in-service date of September 2017.

New luxury bus service launches in San Francisco

The service, which costs $6 a ride, asks riders to download the Leap app, creating an account, uploading a photo and adding a credit card that enables them to pay via a QR code.

4ONE wins multiple bus seating orders

Agencies ordering the company's products, which are now in at least half of all new U.S. and Canadian transit buses, include L.A. Metro, Chicago Transit Authority and New York City Transit.

New Flyer awarded big Las Vegas CNG bus contract

The contract includes a firm order for 35 XN40 and 20 XN60 Xcelsior buses, with an option for another 150 XN40 and 100 XN60 over the next five years. All buses are to be powered by CNG.

Pierce Transit taps Apollo for video surveillance

The decision comes after the agency conducted an analysis and product review period. Implementation of the project began in February and all work is expected to be completed by the end of April.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

Please sign in or register to .    Close