Thursday May 23, 2019
“This budget demonstrates Metro’s commitment to fiscal discipline as well as innovation,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl. “Thanks to Measure M, this budget is focused on construction, bus and rail operations and making sure the Metro system is always in a state of good repair, and always working to improve service.”
During the FY20 budget process, the public had the opportunity to provide comments by visiting the Interactive Budget Tool at metro.net/finance. This interactive tool included a short survey to guide future budgets, where the public shared their transportation priorities, allocated dollars to programs they prefer and provided feedback on Metro’s budget.
The FY20 budget is balanced and calls for no fare increases. The $586.7 million increase over last year’s budget is due to Metro expecting more revenues from its sales taxes, grants and bonds while increasing expenses are due in part to costs associated with labor and benefits, debt and the planning and construction of road, transit and active transportation projects. The adopted budget is for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 and runs through June 30, 2020.
“Metro is poised to lead the ongoing transformation of Los Angeles County. Better mobility means greater access to opportunities for all, including jobs, education, housing, and healthcare—essential elements for a higher quality of life in the region.” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Again, this year we are emphasizing the importance of tightened financial controls in order to maintain long term financial stability.”
Budget highlights include: $1.844 billion for bus and rail operations; $2.378 billion for various capital projects including major construction activity for the Regional Connector Project, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, extensions of the Purple Line subway and the Gold Line Extension. The budget also includes $1.405 billion in funding for regional transit and local subsidies.
Within the budget, the bus and rail service plans consists of 8.23 million revenue service hours with bus hours at 7,094,376 — a modest increase — while rail service will consist of 1,134,953, which is a 5.7 percent adjustment.
For rail this will include some service modifications to the Blue, Gold and Expo lines to make schedules and train lengths more consistent, improve on-time performance, allow more time for light rail vehicles maintenance and match service levels with actual demand based on Board-adopted policies. The changes include:
- Weekday peak hour frequencies for the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines will have trains running every eight minutes instead of the current every six minutes (Blue and Expo) or seven minutes (Gold). During peak hours, all Blue, Expo and Gold Line trains will be three cars instead of the current mix of two-car and three-car trains. This is being done to improve on-time performance and reduce delays.
- On the Blue Line, every train will run every eight minutes between 7th/Metro and Downtown Long Beach — instead of trains running every six minutes between 7th/Metro and Willow and every 12 minutes between Willow and Downtown Long Beach. Long Beach customers will experience significant time savings when traveling from Downtown L.A. to Long Beach.
- Weekday midday frequencies on the Blue, Expo, Gold will remain every 12 minutes with two-car trains — which better meets the current demand. Metro will continue to monitor ridership and provide three-car trains if needed.
- Weekend service on the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines will have trains running every 12 minutes between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. and every 20 minutes outside those hours. Trains on these lines currently begin moving toward 12-minute service between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends.
Metro also plans to finish the NextGen Bus Study in FY20, a multi-year project that will modernize Metro’s bus network. Since beginning in 2018, the study has been diving deep into several important topics, such as transit market demand and the ability of our current bus system to serve current and potential customers. The conclusion of the NextGen Bus Study will result in specific recommendations on how Metro can best reimagine the system to be more relevant to what people need today.
Other projects funded by the coming year’s budget include a multitude of planning and design work. Some of those are New rail and bus rapid transit lines in many parts of L.A. County. These include a new rail station adjacent to LAX, light rail between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station, Orange Line improvements, the L.A. River Path Project, the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, light rail between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles, three bus rapid transit projects (Vermont Avenue, North Hollywood to Pasadena and North San Fernando Valley), the third section of the Purple Line between Century City and Westwood, a Green Line extension to Torrance, an extension of the Eastside Gold Line and the Crenshaw Northern Extension.
Support continues for several Caltrans projects such as State Route 138 Capacity Enhancements, I-5 Capacity Enhancements between the 134 and 170 and the 605 and Orange County border, High Desert Corridor, South Bay Improvements, I-710 Early Action projects, I-605 Corridor “Hot Spots,” highway operational improvements in the Arroyo Verdugo and in Las Virgenes/Malibu subregions. The budget also supports funding for the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) Construction Authority and Phase II grade separation projects.
In addition, the budget funds completing the order of forty 60-foot electric buses for the Orange Line along with charging stations, the delivery of 207 40-foot buses and sixty-five 60-foot buses with Near Zero Emission engines and the continued construction of new subway cars for the Red/Purple Line with delivery expected of two prototype cars during FY 2020 for testing.
Funding is included for midlife modernization projects for both light rail and heavy rail vehicles to preempt vehicle service issues and increase operational performance. Funding is also going to the ongoing effort to modernize the Blue Line and the rebuilding of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.
Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.