Public hearing set for May 14 to comment on Metro's proposed $5.5-billion budget for FY 2015

Here is the news release from Metro and the proposed budget is above:

A public hearing is set for 1 p.m. on May 14, 2014 to hear comment on Metro’s proposed balanced $5.508 billion Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget, set to begin July 1, 2014. The proposed budget includes continued commitment to the largest highway and rail building program in America, bus headway improvements and $283.4 million in maintenance expenditures to keep the system in top form. 

The public hearing will take place during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Metro Board Finance Committee at the Metro Board Room, 1 Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles. The public can view copies of the balanced budget proposal at www.metro.net/fy15proposed or request a copy from the Metro Records Management Center at RMC@metro.net.

The draft FY15 budget enhances many services while keeping fares at low levels, however, a decision on a proposed fare increase to eliminate a projected $36.8 million operating budget deficit by Fiscal Year 2017 is pending the May 22 Metro Board meeting.  

As part of the $283.4 million targeted at maintenance, Metro will spend $192.7 million on bus service including the purchase of 550 new clean-burning CNG buses and about $50 million for rail improvements on the Blue Line and the Red Line subway in the next fiscal year. 

Safety is critical to Metro passengers and the FY15 budget contains $48.7 million to keep the system as safe as possible. Enhancements include improvements to cameras and video monitoring, security kiosks are various rail stations, signal system rehabilitation on the Metro Blue and Green lines and pedestrian safety improvements on the Metro Red Line with an underpass and overpass bridge planned for Universal City and North Hollywood stations. 

Metro continues construction on the most comprehensive public works program in America with Measure R and other funding sources. In FY15, Metro will have five major rail projects either under construction or prepared to begin including the Metro Gold Line extension to Azusa, the Metro Expo Line extension to Santa Monica, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Regional Connector. The Metro Purple Line extension to Westwood has cleared major legal hurdles and is expected to receive a federal full funding grant agreement by mid-May. 

In terms of highway projects, the mammoth undertaking of modernizing and expanding capacity of the I-405 will be completed in FY15 and other projects are moving forward including I-5 widening from Orange County to the I-605, the I-710 South Corridor, the North SR-710 study and a variety of other improvements including continuation of countywide sound wall construction and the Freeway Beautification Pilot Project designed maintain landscape and remove graffiti and debris.

The Metro ExpressLanes Project continues to provide travel options on the I-10 and I-110 freeways with future expansion of ExpressLanes to be studied. The Kenneth Hahn Countywide Callbox System continues operation along with development of the Motorist Aid and Travel Information System (MATIS). 

Metro will continue to contribute both operations and capital funding to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority with FY15 capital projects including the Bob Hope Airport/Hollywood Way station, Van Nuys Second Platform, Vincent Grade/Acton and Lancaster Stations, Doran Street Crossing design, Raymer to Bernson Double Track and Southern California Regional Interconnectivity Program (SCRIP), which will increase Union Station Capacity. 

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