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Houston METRO's FY2013 budget continues rail expansion

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County's (METRO) board recently approved a fiscal-year 2013 budget that includes $445 million for operations and $719.2 million for capital expenses.

The new budget will advance a path set in the FY2012 budget, which focused on service delivery, building rail, "rightsizing" the agency and planning for the future, METRO officials said in a prepared statement.

"METRO's overarching thrust for FY2013 and beyond will be to complete its two major capital projects: METRORail Expansion and HOT Lanes, while maintaining a sustainable service deliver level in bus service, METROLift and van pools," said METRO President and Chief Executive Officer George Greanias.

The budget addresses three strategic priorities and seven operating principles; establishes a financial plan based on a 4.5 percent sales tax growth; calls for no increase in base fares; and enables "significant" progress toward completion of three rail lines, METRO officials said.

The overall budget also includes a $164.8 million general mobility spending plan and $78.3 million for debt service. The FY2013 budget went into effect Oct. 1.

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