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WMATA's Sarles recommends $1.6 billion operating, $997 million capital budget for FY2013


Yesterday, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles recommended operating and capital budgets for the next fiscal year that he believes would improve the system’s safety and reliability, and enhance service.

The proposed $1.6 billion operating budget for fiscal-year 2013 includes a $116 million increase over FY2012’s budget, and is balanced through “cost-sharing” measures, including a planned 8 percent ($53 million) increase in contributions from WMATA’s jurisdictions, as well as various fare increases, Sarles said in a prepared statement.

“In the last year, we have made significant improvements in safety and rebuilding our system — from replacing track and rail infrastructure to repairing escalators and replacing buses and MetroAccess vehicles,” he said. “The proposed operating and capital budgets allow us to further enhance safety, continue the rebuilding effort and advance important service enhancements, such as increased preventive maintenance of escalators, enhanced bus corridor service and added rail rush-hour service in preparation for the Silver Line.”

The operating budget projects $66 million in new revenue from fare changes, which will be discussed at public hearings in February and March.

Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the proposed $997 million capital budget will fund projects that will “improve safety and reliability of the system,” WMATA officials said.

Planned capital expenditures will include signal system updates; replacement of WMATA’s oldest rail cars, the 1000-series fleet, with new 7000-series cars; track and infrastructure projects; and rehabilitation and replacement of escalators and elevators.

The next step in WMATA’s budget process will be public hearings slated for February. The full board is required to vote on the budget by the start of FY2013 on July 1.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/13/2012