May 29, 2012

L..A. Metro approves FY2013 budget

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) adopted a $4.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 at the board meeting held at Metro headquarters.

Metro’s FY 2013 budget, which is balanced with no shortfall, does not propose raising fares. Metro's farebox recovery will stay at 28% — near the bottom of any major operator, with passenger loads also low compared to other transportation agencies in the same range.

The FY 2013 budget includes the following: $1.467 billion for transit operations; $278.5 million for deferred maintenance of Metro's rolling stock of buses and trains; $1.084 billion for construction of Measure R transit projects; $134.5 million for other capital improvements, such as bus maintenance facilities; $236.5 million for a robust highway program; $339.5 million for debt service obligations; and $974.7 million in subsidies distributed by Metro to fund Metrolink, regional operations and transit projects throughout Los Angeles County.

Against the backdrop of high gas prices, Metro will be offering commuters and others viable public transit alternatives with new light rail service on the Expo Line connecting downtown Los Angeles and Culver City and the Metro Orange Line busway extension to the Metrolink/Amtrak station in Chatsworth. Metro also will bolster express bus service on the Harbor Transitway and the I-10 between downtown and El Monte as the ExpressLanes congestion pricing demonstration project debuts

Metro CEO Art Leahy stressed a renewed focus on customer service with a strong emphasis on reliability, cleanliness and courtesy. Metro is purchasing hundreds of new buses and railcars and catching up on years of deferred maintenance for Metro's rolling stock. Stations will be cleaner, safer and there will be better signage so that customers who speak a multitude of languages can better navigate the Metro system.

The budget restricts hiring new employees except to fill positions needed to deliver Measure R projects and operate new services. Moreover, Metro has set in motion a program to recruit and train the next generation of managers and operations employees to allow for a smoother generational transition.

Metro funding comes largely from local transportation sales tax revenue along with transit assistance and grants from the state and federal governments, farebox revenue and other revenue sources such as advertising, land leases and commercial filming.

The FY 13 budget is $337.3 million or 8.1% more than the current $4.178 billion Metro budget. This reflects a significant expansion of the Measure R program in the next fiscal year. In the new fiscal year Metro will be spending $1.560 billion on Measure R projects and programs compared to expenditures of $1.278 billion this fiscal year. In addition, Metro will be spending $35.2 million to operate the new Expo light rail line in FY 13.

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