The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors approved a $7.2-billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) following a recent public hearing and extensive public outreach and input. The adopted budget represents an 8.9% increase from the FY19 budget.
During the FY20 budget process, the public had the opportunity to provide comments by visiting the agency’s Interactive Budget Tool. The interactive tool included a short survey to guide future budgets, where the public shared their transportation priorities, allocated dollars to programs they prefer, and provided feedback on Metro’s budget.
The FY20 budget is balanced and calls for no fare increases. The $586.7 million increase over last year’s budget is due to Metro expecting more revenues from its sales taxes, grants, and bonds while increasing expenses are due in part to costs associated with labor and benefits, debt, and the planning and construction of road, transit, and active transportation projects. The adopted budget is for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 and runs through June 30, 2020.
“Metro is poised to lead the ongoing transformation of Los Angeles County. Better mobility means greater access to opportunities for all, including jobs, education, housing, and healthcare — essential elements for a higher quality of life in the region.” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Again, this year we are emphasizing the importance of tightened financial controls in order to maintain long term financial stability.”
Budget highlights include $1.844 billion for bus and rail operations and $2.378 billion for various capital projects including major construction activity for the Regional Connector Project, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, and extensions of the Purple Line subway and the Gold Line Extension. The budget also includes $1.405 billion in funding for regional transit and local subsidies.
Within the budget, the bus and rail service plans consists of 8.23 million revenue service hours with bus hours at 7,094,376 — a modest increase — while rail service will consist of 1,134,953, which is a 5.7% adjustment.
For rail this will include some service modifications to the Blue, Gold and Expo lines to make schedules and train lengths more consistent, improve on-time performance, allow more time for light rail vehicles maintenance, and match service levels with actual demand based on board-adopted policies.
Metro also plans to finish the NextGen Bus Study in FY20, a multi-year project that will modernize Metro’s bus network. Since beginning in 2018, the study has been diving deep into several important topics, such as transit market demand and the ability of our current bus system to serve current and potential customers. The conclusion of the NextGen Bus Study will result in specific recommendations on how Metro can best reimagine the system to be more relevant to what people need today.