According to this draft resolution, the Board will consider providing the following guidance to GM Catoe for preparing the FY 2011 budget, which starts next July:
Assume that jurisdiction subsidies will not likely increase
Assume a fare increase in line with inflation, approximately a 3% increase
Determine whether the FY 2011 budget can be balanced by funding preventive maintenance with capital funds, and assess how that affects the capital program
Propose how to keep MetroAccess costs from growing unsustainably
Recommend how to adjust rail and bus service levels to provide a balanced budget
The last item is key. Once you’ve put fare increases above inflation and government assistance off the table, you have to find the money either through cutting service or some other Metro expense. Since last year’s budget was mainly balanced by cutting non-service Metro expenses, it seems unlikely that much more will be possible, leaving Metro’s staff in the uncomfortable position of recommending severe service cuts.
As we discussed earlier, we prefer a balanced approach, with the burden shared evenly between subsidies, fares and service cuts. We also strongly endorse measures to keep the growth of MetroAccess costs down, as well as working with local departments of transportation to speed up bus service, allowing fewer buses to provide the same level of service.