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More funds needed in FY2005 budget, WMATA says


On Dec. 11, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials presented to the budget committee the proposed $1.2 billion fiscal-year 2005 budget, which would reduce expenses by $30 million and address a $29 million to $36 million shortfall.

The budget includes funds to launch Metrorail service to the Largo Town Center on the Blue Line and New York Avenue on the Red Line late next year.

The operating budget would increase 7 percent — from $872 million in FY2004 to $934 million in FY2005. Local jurisdictions would contribute $402.3 million with a 4.5 percent subsidy increase, $394.9 million with a 2.6 percent subsidy increase or $385 million with no subsidy increase.

"While Metrorail ridership continues to grow at a 3 percent rate, it is not growing at the same 6 percent to 7 percent rate we experienced in previous years," said WMATA Chief Executive Officer Richard White in a prepared statement.

The authority plans to reduce white-collar administration and contract-service expenses. During the past four years, WMATA has reduced expenses $78 million, White said.

The authority’s FY2005 capital improvement program (CIP) budget totals $311.3 million, but the six-year infrastructure renewal program budget would be reduced $132.3 million compared with the board’s previously adopted amount. The agency needs an additional $385 million to avoid deferral of necessary capital investments, WMATA officials said.

Funds are needed to replace and rehabilitate trains, buses, elevators, escalators power cables and tracks; purchase 120 new rail cars and support systems to upgrade to eight-car trains; and enhance security.

WMATA’s budget committee will review the proposed budget during the next six months, then make final recommendations to the board by June 2004. The FY2005 budget would take affect July 1, 2004.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/12/2003