It’s still early in 2015, but the annual budget season is approaching for Metro. Budgets may not be the most exciting thing on Earth, but they’re important — a budget is really a basic statement about an agency’s priorities.
The above presentation, I think, provides a helpful glimpse of Metro’s upcoming budget, which is still in development and is expected to be released in April for public comment, as per usual. The Metro Board of Directors will consider the budget during its May round of meetings; the budget covers the fiscal year that runs from July 1 through June 30, 2016.
Metro’s budget for the current fiscal year was about $5.5 billion — a lot of money, for sure, and a potent symbol of the agency’s reach. Not only does Metro runs a vast transit network (more than 2,000 buses on 170 Bus Lines and 87 miles of rail), but the agency also builds and funds projects big and small in the 88 cities and unincorporated areas that are part of Los Angeles County. Projects cover the gamut from roads to transit to improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, and programs such as Metro’s fare subsidies for low-income and other riders.
We’ll be posting more about the budget in the coming months. As for the presentation, I encourage you to take a look through it. There’s a little bit of jargon that I can help with:
•On Slide 4, “subsidy funding” includes money that Metro provides to municipal transit agencies in Los Angeles County, as well as Los Angeles County’s share of funding for Metrolink commuter rail and Access Services. Subsidy funding also goes to pay for highway projects, street and road improvements, local transit services, bike infrastructure and other transportation programs throughout the 88 cities and County, some through what’s known as Metro’s Call for Projects.
•Also on Slide 4, “capital” refers to Metro projects that are either under construction or in the planning phase. There are currently five rail lines under construction and a number of other projects that include purchasing new buses and rail cars. In addition, Metro is also helping fund several big highway programs in the county. One of the big ones, for example, is the widening of the 5 freeway between the 605 and the Orange County border.
•As referred to on Slide 5, Metro does have plans to install WiFi on a few Silver Line buses in the coming months. Stay tuned to The Source for more details. And, as we’ve posted in the past, Metro is beginning the process of installing equipment to allow for cell phone coverage and WiFi in underground rail stations, with service in downtown Red/Purple Line stations expected to begin later this year.
Categories: Policy & Funding