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The Regional Transportation District of Denver’s (RTD) board earlier this week approved the agency’s 2021 budget, which includes $140 million in spending cuts, layoffs for 400 employees and the elimination of 300 vacant positions.
The board decided in recent months to use conservative budget projections and move ahead with cuts due to the uncertainty of ridership levels and additional federal relief funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, RTD officials said in a press release.
Recent local government restrictions on restaurants, offices and bars to curtail the spread of coronavirus will continue to cut into ridership and revenue, RTD officials said.
The budget cuts will also include furloughs and wage reductions for some employees who remain at RTD. Those making more than $120,000 will see a 3.5% pay cut for 2021, and those making more than $180,000 will lose 7.5% of their pay.
Service will remain at about 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The budget aligns staffing levels with this reduced level of service. The unfilled positions and the layoffs will include a combination of union-represented employees and administrative staff.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis sent a letter to RTD asking the agency to delay any layoffs until there is more clarity about the potential for pandemic-stimulus spending under President-elect Joe Biden's administration. However, RTD board members determined that any federal aid agreement might not occur until well into the 2021 budget year, RTD officials said.