The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) board announced a proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget of $413.76 million, a Capital Budget totaling $185.5 million and $143.7 million in debt service.
The proposal, which will be presented at a series of public hearings in May, is focused on maintaining MARTA's long-term financial sustainability, preserving transit service and state-of-good-repair, enhancing some bus routes and implementing new security initiatives.
To stabilize MARTA's financial condition and maintain current service levels for customers, a number of internal and external recommendations to stabilize the MARTA's finances are being proposed.
External recommendations include a base fare increase from $2.00 to $2.50, with weekly and monthly pass price increases. In addition, the proposal includes the continuation of staggered increases for Mobility base fare, reduced fare and Mobility passes as indicated in the previous, FY 2010 base fare increase. Mobility base fare, reduced fare and Mobility passes will not be impacted by the proposed FY 2012 base fare increase.
Internal recommendations in the proposed budget include no annual merit or wage increases for non-represented and represented employees, which would be the fourth year in a row.
Despite recently projected increases in MARTA's sales tax over the next 10 years, its finances have been negatively impacted by the overall economic downturn. With no new funding sources on the horizon this fiscal year, MARTA is proposing these changes now to avoid any additional service cuts and to ensure metro Atlanta's prospects for expanded regional transit in the future.
If approved by the board of directors as part of the FY 2012 budget, bus service enhancements would be implemented in September and fare changes would take effect in October.