Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors adopted a $4.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. LACMTA's FY 2013 budget does not propose raising fares, which already rank among the lowest in the nation; its farebox recovery will stay at 28 percent.
The FY 2013 budget includes the following: $1.467 billion for transit operations, $278.5 million for deferred maintenance of LACMTA’s rolling stock of buses and trains, $1.084 billion for construction of Measure R transit projects, $134.5 million for other capital improvements, such as bus maintenance facilities, $236.5 million for a highway program; $339.5 million for debt service obligations and $974.7 million in subsidies distributed by LACMTA to fund Metrolink, regional operations and transit projects throughout Los Angeles County.
The budget restricts hiring new employees except to fill positions needed to deliver Measure R projects and operate new services. Moreover, LACMTA has set in motion a program to recruit and train the next generation of managers and operations employees to allow for a smoother generational transition.
Metro funding comes largely from local transportation sales tax revenue, along with transit assistance and grants from the state and federal governments, farebox revenue and other revenue sources such as advertising, land leases and commercial filming.
The FY 13 budget is $337.3 million or 8.1 percent more than the current $4.178 billion budget. This reflects a significant expansion of the Measure R program in the next fiscal year. In the new fiscal year, LACMTA will be spending $1.560 billion on Measure R projects and programs compared to expenditures of $1.278 billion this fiscal year. In addition, LACMTA will be spending $35.2 million to operate the new Expo light-rail line in FY 13.
The board also voted to approve the remaining portion of the $5.6 billion Westside Subway Extension project, including the final approval of LACMTA staff recommendations for a Constellation/Avenue of the Stars subway station in Century City.
The action officially approves four new stations and alignments in Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA, adding the remaining five miles to the approved and certified subway extension project. The board’s previous action in April only approved the initial project phase from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega. The entire project will now enter into final design upon approval from the Federal Transit Administration.
Metro will now seek a Record of Decision for the project from the Federal Transit Administration. This would represent federal environmental clearance for the subway extension project and is required for Metro to move forward with various pre-construction activities, including awarding a construction contract.
The subway extension will enable passengers to travel from downtown L.A. to Westwood in 25 minutes and will generate about 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations. There would be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full rail system as a result of this subway extension.
Under current plans, the project could begin construction in 2013 and, depending on the availability of funds, may be built in three phases: from Western to La Cienega by 2020, to Century City in 2026 and to Westwood in 2036.