Friday, May 25, 2012

WMATA Board approves FY13 budget

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors approved WMATA's $2.5 billion operating and capital budgets for fiscal 2013, which fund critical projects to enhance safety and reliability, as well as customer service. WMTA's fiscal year begins July 1.

"The fiscal 2013 budget reaffirms our strong commitment to building a better Metro system, one that is safe and more reliable," said Metro Board Chair Catherine Hudgins. "The budget enables Metro to continue its efforts to rebuild the system and introduce new service initiatives to improve the traveling experience of our customers."

General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said, "In addition to continuing the ongoing efforts to rebuild the Metro system with new and upgraded equipment and increased preventive maintenance efforts, the newly passed, balanced budget provides funding for better bus service and more rail service for thousands of Metro riders."

The $1.6 billion fiscal 2013 operating budget allows for expanded rush hour rail service, additional police officers, improved escalator preventive maintenance, advancement of the worker fatigue management program and continued compliance with National Transportation Safety Board recommendations and preparation for the start of Silver Line service in late 2013.

Specifically, beginning June 18, WMATA will introduce Rush+ service, which benefits more than 100,000 rail riders with increased, rush hour rail service. Rush+ will provide more frequent train service at 21 stations and new transfer-free commute options for many customers on the Orange, Blue, Yellow and Green lines.

The capital budget supports Metro Forward, the massive rebuilding effort to improve safety and reliability including major projects to replace tracks and track components, repair tunnels and infrastructure, upgrade stations and facilities, rehabilitate or replace escalators and elevators and purchase new buses, railcars and MetroAccess vehicles.

The nearly $1 billion capital budget for fiscal 2013 includes a slate of projects directly related to improving safety and reliability and better service for customers. The capital budget consists of contributions from the federal government and WMATA's jurisdictional partners.

The board also approved the six-year, $5.7 billion Capital Improvement Plan (fiscal 2013-2018), which includes projects to advance NTSB recommendations, including track circuit replacements and the replacement of its oldest railcars, the 1000-series fleet, with new 7000-series cars. Additional projects will include replacement of 88 escalators throughout the system and a new electronic payment program that will allow customers to pay transit fares directly at the faregate or farebox using contactless Smartcards

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