Capital Metro’s proposed FY2011 budget is now available for public comment. The public hearing on the budget is Sept. 20, at noon, here at Capital Metro headquarters. The board will consider adoption of the budget on Sept. 24.
I’m jazzed about Capital Metro’s improved budgeting process, and this resulting budget. It reflects many of your priorities as shared with us through the budget survey this summer. It also reflects Capital Metro’s increased commitment to accountability, financial sustainability and transparency as we continue to implement recommendations from the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (look for a community progress report on that in September).
New this year is a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (see appendix A) and a new policy to ensure our cash reserves are healthy and protected.
Here are some of the key components of this year’s operating and capital budget:
- Adds $1.3 million to our cash reserves.
- Increases bus and rail service. Improvements include more frequency on crosstown routes/better service in SE Austin, per ServicePlan2020, and possible midday and Fri. evening MetroRail service.
- Increases fares and other revenue. The proposed budget includes a fare increase that would increase pass rates, MetroAccess fares and RideShare. Free fares would also be eliminated as recommended by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. Before any fares increase, Capital Metro will seek public input and host a public hearing concerning fares.
- Continues improvements to bus stop accessibility. The budget allocates $2 million for bus stop accessibility. It also allocates $50,000 to install new and replacement bus stop benches and shelters.
- Begins implementation of MetroRapid, using $10 million of federal funding and $2.5 million local funding.
- Replaces the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated phone system. This should please many customers who have complained about the current automated system on the Go Line.
- Constructs a 75-space Park & Ride in Manor.
NOTE: There are two known errors in the document that will be corrected.
1. Capital Metro proposes allocating $2 million (not $1 million as it’s incorrectly stated in the document currently posted) to improve bus stop accessibility in FY2011.
2. The IVR phone system will be replaced in FY2011 (not FY2012 as stated in the document).