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6/18/2001



Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA approves FY2002 budget


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) board June 14 approved the agency’s $1.9 billion operating and capital budgets for fiscal-year 2002, which begins July 1, 2001.



The operating budget includes $436 million in revenues, $796 million in operating expenses, and a $360 million gross subsidy requirement from local jurisdictions.



The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget accounts for the remaining $1.1 billion.



With the approved funds, officials plan to permanently extend Metrorail’s Friday and Saturday service to 2 a.m., add 37 police officer positions to the Metro Transit Police Department, purchase ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel to reduce bus emissions, and continue major cleaning and enhancement programs for rail stations.



In approving the budget, the board also held fast to a 1996 promise not to increase fares for five years.



"We have put together an impressive team of managers who have found innovative ways to hold the line on fares," said WMATA General Manager Richard White in a prepared statement. "One of those innovations was the new program, which greatly simplified bus fares for our customers."



In about two years, Metrobus fareboxes will be able to accept the SmarTrip fare card. Currently, the smart cards can be used to pay for only train travel or rail station parking.



The CIP budget also will fund a comprehensive radio communications system for rail, bus and the Transit Police; as well as a rehabilitation program for Breda Transportation Inc.-manufactured rail cars.


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