Metro officials gave a brief preview of the agency’s budget that will soon be released for fiscal year 2013-14 to the Board of Director’s Planning Committee on Wednesday afternoon. A few highlights that may interest Source readers:
•The budget is balanced without a fare increase.
•The budget proposes an increase in Orange Line service to relieve mid-day crowding.
•The budget proposes additional late night service for the Expo and Gold lines.
•The budget proposes improved headways for weekend service on all Metro Rail lines. CEO Art Leahy said that some shorter trains will be used; the idea is to make service more frequent and convenient to grow ridership. Longer trains then could be used as the new rail cars that Metro ordered last year are delivered.
•The budget proposes $20 million to address Blue Line safety issues.
•The budget proposes $261 million for deferred maintenance of Metro buses, trains and facilities. The budget also includes a new policy to ensure that maintenance is not deferred in the future.
•The budget proposes systemwide camera/video enhancements for improved security on the Metro system.
•Staff said that the proposed overall budget will be $4.9 billion for 2013-14.
•The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to consider and vote on the budget in late May. There will be a public hearing on May 15. We’ll have more details on The Source after the draft budget is publicly released.