‘Empty Metro Car’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’
$175 million. That is the current projected budget gap for Metro for the fiscal year. That is a gap some $30m larger than what was predicted just three months ago and you may be paying the difference. WaPo wrote today that Metro’s managers recommended this morning that up to $92 million of that gap be made up through fare hikes. That would require a full 25 cent increase on each fare, bus and rail, to cover 50% of the total shortfall. But why is Metro even worse off than expected?
Well revenues are down, of course. Way down. But why?
Officials said the main reason for the growing gap is the bad economy, which has meant fewer riders and less revenue.
Friends, you and I and everyone in between know that the economy, however recessed it might be, is NOT the reason Metro’s revenues are falling like crazy. Job loss is not why ridership is far below estimates. Does anyone even remotely believe this? Of course the economy has hurt every business, and Metro has to be run like a business (sort of). But COME ON WMATA. Walk up to a mirror and the answer to your falling revenue will look you right straight in the face.
‘The puzzled and the sad.’
courtesy of ‘Gin Fizz’
The Washington Post is reporting that D.C. schools will be losing $30 million in funding in FY2010 and smokers will be paying another 50 cents a pack for cigarettes. Among other tax increases and several other service cuts, these changes will become a reality assuming Mayor Fenty signs the latest revised budget that was just recently approved by the city council. He is expected to sign it, despite his original 2006 campaign promises of not raising taxes. But who campaigns saying they’re going to raise taxes anyway? And who can predict a nasty recession that kills city revenues and causes a $666 million budget gap? (Wait…$666 million? Surely Lucifer had something to do with this…)
The general sales tax is increasing by .25% on the dollar to an even 6% and gas prices will be going up a bit as this revised budget also increases the gas tax by 3.5 cents a gallon. About $350 million worth of service cuts had to be made for this budget, which includes significant funding cuts for social services like Bread for the City.