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LACMTA proposes 8 percent budget increase for FY2013

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) will hold a public hearing next week on a proposed $4.5 billion budget for fiscal-year 2013. The board is scheduled to consider the budget on May 24.

If approved by the LACMTA board, the proposed FY2013 budget would increase 8.1 percent compared with FY2012, agency officials said in a prepared statement. The proposal is “balanced and contains no shortfalls,” as well as no fare increases, they said. The agency’s farebox revenue would remain at 28 percent.

In preparing the fiscal plan, LACMTA Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy called for a renewed focus on customer service with a strong emphasis on “reliability, cleanliness and courtesy.”

The proposal includes $1.5 billion for transit operations; $278.5 million for deferred maintenance of rolling stock; $1.084 billion for construction of Measure R transit projects; $134.5 million for other capital improvements; and $974.7 million in subsidies to Metrolink and regional operations and transit projects throughout L.A. County.

In addition, the hiring of new employees would be restricted except to fill positions needed to deliver Measure R projects and to operate new services. Measure R is a half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2008 for public works projects designed to stabilize and downsize the region’s traffic congestion.

“The reality is that Measure R does not include enough funds to support operations for all the new rail projects in the pipeline,” agency officials said. “A reduction in state or federal funding, or a dip in local economy or ridership will endanger the balanced budget presented.”

Leahy said it’s prudent to flag such risks now to prepare the board to avoid future barriers that could impact the agency’s projects and progress down the road.

“In that sense, FY13 will be a pivotal period” for the agency and L.A. County, he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/10/2012