Richard Sarles, Metro’s interim general manager, presented the Metro Finance Administration and Oversight Committee today (April 22) with recommendations to close the agency’s $189 million budget gap for fiscal year 2011. The recommendations considered public input provided during six public hearings, in letters to Metro and responses to an on-line questionnaire.
The latest budget proposal includes fare and parking fee increases, bus and rail service adjustments, reallocation of some capital funds, departmental reductions, layoffs, and increased contributions by local jurisdictions.
Metrorail and Metrobus service adjustments account for $8 million or 4 percent of the budget gap reduction, while fare adjustments account for $87.9 million. Changes to parking, bicycle locker and other fees are expected to bring in an additional $13.8 million in revenue.
Sarles told the Committee that 79 percent of on-line public comments on the budget favored an increase in Metrobus fares and 80 percent favored increased fares for Metrorail.
Proposed fare adjustments include raising peak-hour rail fares from $1.65 to $1.90. A 10-cent surcharge would be added to fares during peak morning and evening periods. Bus fares would rise from $1.25 to $1.50 for SmarTrip users and $1.60 for riders using cash. All riders using paper fare cards would pay an extra 25 cents per transaction.
MetroAccess initiatives and departmental reductions are expected to close the budget gap by $7.2 million and $16.3 million, respectively. Sarles plans to cut 313 positions throughout the agency and eliminate a 1 percent pay raise for non-union employees.
Metro is requesting that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia increase their jurisdictional contributions by $26 million.
To see the complete proposal, visit this link.