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Metro FY2018 Budget Faces Big Challenges, Board Members Say

by Dave Emke January 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East Metro/Northern Virginia Transportation Commission

Metro board members continue to probe the public for feedback as they address how to close their budget gap.

In a public forum Wednesday night in Reston, the Virginia members of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board discussed their $3.1 billion proposed FY2018 budget.

Board members estimate $17 billion will be needed over next decade “just to maintain a state of good repair,” but also acknowledge that the impact of delays associated with the SafeTrack program are significant.

DC CFO estimates Metro delays led to:

— lost productivity between $153 million and $235 million annually in the region

— ridership declines that reduce Metrorail’s fare box recovery

Proposed investments, totaling $1.25 billion, outlined by board members to help make Metro more safe and reliable include new 7000 Series railcars; replacement buses and paratransit vehicles; rehabilitation and maintenance of existing railcar and bus fleets; rehabilitation and replacement of track and structures, rail power, radio/wireless and bus garages; and reinvestment in station escalators, elevators, lighting and platforms.

Proposed capital funding from Fairfax County for the FY2018 Metro budget is $101 million, up $66 million from FY2017. Increased contributions in FY2018 include funds to repay short-term debt projected to be used in FY2017.

WMATA FY2018 Budget Jurisdictional Contributions (proposed)

Proposed operational funding from Fairfax County in FY2018 is $138.6 million, a 17 percent increase from the current fiscal year.

WMATA FY2018 Budget Jurisdictional Operational Contributions (proposed)

The proposed budget also features fare hikes including:

  • 10 cents on rush-hour rail fares, 25 cents on non-rush-hour fares
  • 25 cents on regular and express Metrobus fares
  • $2.75 on Dulles Airport Metrobus fares

Service frequency would also be adjusted in the following ways:

  • 8-minute frequency on Silver Line during weekday rush hour (up from 6)
  • 15-minute frequency on all lines all other times (up from 12)

Metro has planned an open house Monday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. to receive feedback on the budget. In addition, feedback can be provided via an online survey.

Photo via Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, charts via Metro FY2018 budget proposal

  • Greg

    Why is that Hudgins’ only solution, to every problem, it to steal more of our money?

    This woman is as incompetent as they come — and let’s not forget that she’s stolen tens of millions from us to save her beloved Lake Anne Brutalist place and what do we have to show for it? Nothing but ever higher taxes.

    • 30yearsinreston

      She and Plum are well past their sell by date

  • Silver Line Rider

    Reducing frequency and increasing fares should be ‘just the ticket’ for restoring ridership.

    How much longer will Silver Line trains terminate at Ballston? We’re already paying too much for ‘connecting’ service to DC!

    • The Constitutionalist

      Sure, makes sense…

      We paid all this money for something, use it less and make it cost more! That’ll fix it!

  • Richard

    The Metro board, including members like Cathy Hudgins, who have been there for many years, are the ones who should be held responsible for the deteriorated condition of Metro and the terrible forecast. They have failed to adequately sell the need for an increased, stable revenue stream to the public and to their respective government leaders. The Virginia representatives just putz around talking about how changes need to be made before additional funding will be considered. When does the putzing end? If Metro is a critical engine of jobs, growth and productivity for Maryland, DC and Virginia, then it should not be so difficult to quantify that fact and demonstrate it to the political leadership. I’m just as disappointed in Governor McAulliffe who continues to waffle on the need for additional Metro funding. We’re not going to find a better administrator of Metro than we have right now with Paul Wiedefeld. Don’t lose this opportunity to establish a strong financial base and a unified strategic plan for Metro for the next 40 years.

    • Mike M

      Step 1: Field a candidate to run against Hudgins.
      Step 2: Get the Reston L-words to STOP rubber stamping her back into office!

      Good luck with that.

      • 30yearsinreston

        The sooner she and Plum are pensioned off the better

  • Cancel it already

    We re in an era of self driving electric busses and maglev. We don t need metro.

  • LC

    How is there a budget issue? How much money did they make from the women’s march alone? I’ve never seen the metro so crowded!

    • Greg

      One word for you: Union.

      And, the march was a one-day event likely with millions paid out in overtime, so it’s highly unlikely its revenues exceeded its costs that day. Worse, there are 364 other days a year during which Metro loses millions per day.

  • vdiv

    Cough! Bike paths! Cough!

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