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Following further expense reductions and increased ridership, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) likely will need $16 million less than anticipated to balance the fiscal-year 2013 operating budget, agency officials announced.
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles originally projected a $119 million budget increase over FY2012 to fund $116 million in safety, reliability and service improvements, as well as a $3 million shortfall in passenger revenue. The increase included $55 million in labor-related costs, slightly more than half of which are additional pension expenses.
With the benefit of three quarters of actual FY2012 expenses incurred and additional cost reductions identified by management, WMATA has reduced its costs for the next fiscal year by $7 million. Also, agency officials expect base revenue to be $9 million higher than original projections, based on updated economic and jobs forecasts. Combined, the revised projections lower the agency’s additional operating need to $103 million, WMATA officials said in a prepared statement.
The agency anticipates 11 million more passenger trips than originally projected in November, and $9 million in additional revenue prior to any fare change. Of the additional revenue, $8 million is expected to be generated by rail ridership, WMATA officials said.
When the Finance Committee meets Thursday, members will discuss a number of options to amend Sarles’ original fare proposal.
“This good news allows the committee to consider a range of options that reduce the burden on both riders and taxpayers,” said Finance Committee Chairman Marcel Acosta.