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WMATA unveils FY2007 spending plans

It’s not quite 2006, but at least one transit agency already is planning for 2007. Yesterday, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) proposed a $1.8 billion fiscal-year 2007 budget.

The more than $1 billion operating budget calls for adding more than 200 positions, running longer trains during off-peak and weekend hours, and providing regular service on Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day.

In addition, WMATA would take delivery of 72 cars to operate eight-car trains on 20 percent of its system by 2006’s end. WMATA officials expect the service increases and longer trains to boost rail ridership 5 percent.

The operating budget would increase 7.3 percent, or $74 million, compared with FY2006 due to inflation and the proposed service expansion. WMATA plans to generate additional revenue through fares, parking fees and advertising. The authority also proposes to increase the subsidy contributed by local municipalities by 5.9 percent.

The $662 million capital program includes funds to purchase additional passenger cars, overhaul older cars, expand rail yards, maintain stations and rehabilitate elevators and escalators.

During the next six months, the board’s budget committee will review the spending plan. The board is expected to make its final recommendations in June and the new budget would take effect July 1, 2006.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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