The King County Metro leadership briefed the Regional Transit Committee on March 18 about the current budget situation and different options for service cuts. Video is here and the slides (which are illegible in the video) can be viewed in Powerpoint here.
Summary below the jump.
Metro has already implemented fare increases, some capital program cuts, and some operating budget cuts. Moreover, of the $70m Metro won in the federal stimulus, $50m is directly applicable to the operating budget, and of that $25m will be applied to each 2009 and 2010 operations. Together with the most up-to-date revenue projections, the current deficits (Slide 9) are as follows:
The bottom line is the current situation, after recently implemented cuts and after applying the stimulus funds.
The video has extensive discussion by Metro GM Kevin Desmond and Director of Service Planning Victor Obeso (starting at 10:00) that goes into extensive detail about the various ways that Metro is looking at to close the gap and decide on what cuts to make.
I’d like to call your attention to slide 24, titled the “Decision-Making Continuum for Scenarios”. It discusses some of the basic value judgments that embody the tradeoffs Metro is facing, and it’s a useful reminder that the decision on what routes to cut is hardly black-and-white, in spite of all the accusations of empty buses on the Eastside:
I editorialized in favor of hosing the “choice” riders last month.
One intriguing point is that 16,000 service hours are being added in 2010 under Transit Now plans using the 20/40/40 framework, in addition to some “service partnerships” that provide 12,000 hours. The same items are 42K and 35K in 2010. There are many, many more hours in the outlying years (slide 16):
It’s seems intuitive that shelving these service expansions would incur cuts according to the 20/40/40 rule rather than the 60/20/20 cut rule that we explained in February.