During a special board meeting Monday, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) board of directors approved the FY 2011 Operating and Capital Budget, which includes the preservation of some bus and rail service that had originally been proposed for elimination.
The approved FY 2011 budget, totaling $710.44 million, includes a net transit operating budget of $389.64 million and a total capital budget of $320.8 million, with $132.8 million allocated for debt service. The FY 2011 budget takes effect on July, 1 2010, with service, fare and internal cost containment measures taking effect at various times over the next several months.
The original budget deficit of $120 million was reduced to $69.34 million due to the MARTA's significant cost reduction measures, a better-than-projected sales tax forecast from Georgia State University and the Georgia Legislature lifting the "50/50 restriction" for three years
"Facing a significant budget deficit for FY 2011, which required the consideration of major service cuts, MARTA immediately began discussions with the public at the beginning of this year in an effort to minimize the negative impacts," said MARTA GM/CEO Dr. Beverly A. Scott. "After holding nine community meetings, four public hearings and receiving approximately 10,000 public comments, the MARTA board listened and responded to customers by adopting a budget that maintains core service and enables us to continue serving the public to the best of our ability."
MARTA's FY 2011 budget includes a number of internal cost containment measures:
- a 10.2 percent reduction in bus service (131 routes to 91 routes)
- a 14.2 percent reduction in rail service
- an increase in weekly, monthly and Mobility pass prices
- closure of two RideStores
- reduced customer service call center hours
- a reduction in the number of station agents assigned throughout the system
- and designation of public restrooms at nine major transfer points and end-of-line stations
Service modifications were developed based on MARTA's guiding principles to develop a core service that is reliable and sustainable and maintain connections to major activity centers and critical "lifeline" facilities.
Internal cost containment measures include the elimination of 734 positions, no merit-based or annual cost of living increases for employees, and mandatory 10-day furloughs for non-represented employees (excluding police and operating supervisors).
Service modifications will be implemented on September 25th and pass price increases will go into effect on October 3rd.