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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

St. Louis' Metro, California's NCTD brace for tough times in '09


St. Louis' Metro recently proposed a $221.5 million FY2008-2009 budget. The good news: No fare increases or service reductions are planned for this calendar year. The bad news: The agency will need to implement both in 2009 if it doesn't obtain a new source of revenue.

Agency officials project a $19.2 million budget shortfall during the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. In addition, St. Louis County will reduce its transit appropriation by $8 million. However, the county does expect a transit sales tax to be placed on the November ballot.

Meanwhile, after announcing plans to cut service and raise fares in FY2009, California's North County Transit District (NCTD) is implementing a restructuring and staff reduction plan to help make up an anticipated $3 million FY2009 budget shortfall. Declining sales tax revenue, increasing fuel costs and uncertain state funding are the primary reasons for the shortfall, NCTD said.

Some of the staff reductions, which began last week, will be implemented by July 1, when the current fiscal year ends. The final number of job cuts has not yet been determined pending NCTD's service changes. The restructuring plan also includes a hiring freeze and the elimination of some senior management positions.