Metro proposes a new operating budget with a deficit of $ 500 million, where riderships have plummeted and there is no new federal relief. Here are the things to know.
NBC Washington’s Adam Tuss about Metro’s budget cuts
Metro proposes a new operating budget with a deficit of $ 500 million, where riderships have plummeted and there is no new federal relief.
Metro General Manager Paul Weidfeld said on Monday in the 2021 budget that the metro rail will close at 9pm, end weekend service, close 19 stations and reduce the number of trains.
“It simply came to our notice then. Historic budget crisis. It started on the 21st (fiscal year) and will continue on for the 22nd fiscal year, ”Widfeld said.
Everything will be reduced to “bare bones service” to facilitate essential travel, while ensuring that the metro survives to serve the area during recovery. Under this proposal, bus service will be reduced to 45% of the pre-pandemic level. The weekend bus service will be increased due to the lack of weekend rail service.
According to Metro’s budget proposal, the 19 stations to be closed are:
- Arlington Cemetery
- Cleveland Park
- College Park
- East Falls Church
- Eisenhower Highway
- Federal Center SW
- Federal triangle
- Judicial Square
- Morgan Boulevard
- Mount Vernon Square
- From Dawn Street
- Virginia Square
“This is by no means a doomsday situation,” Weidfeld said. “It simply came to our notice then. Worst case scenario if income is flat ിക്കുക Termination of service or doing something bad would be a doomsday. ”
Metro’s proposed FY2022 budget includes pay freezes, dismissals and wage increases for union employees.
The changes will take effect in July if approved.
The WTOP contacted the union representing Metro employees for comment.
While Metro predicts a sharp decline in revenue next year, its costs continue to rise. In addition to employee benefits, the agency is still funding the construction of the second phase of the Silver Line expansion, while receiving costs from the Cinder Bed Road bus garage.
The cost of the metro also increased due to the pandemic, as it paid more than $ 10 million for inspections, augmentation and cleaning of personal protective equipment.
Widfeld said current data show that 20-25% of pre-pandemic ridership returns are from transit, the agency said. Although the number is expected to increase next year, they plan to remain well below historic levels. Projections will depend on the availability of the corona virus vaccine and the riders’ readiness to use the system, Widfeld said.
The effects of the epidemic caused the Metro to resume operations, with the Metro opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m. on weekdays. Got it 876 million in federal funding in May Through the CARES Act to help maintain a balanced budget, increase the ability to reopen and dispense corona virus protection equipment to employees.
If you are a transit agency Most of the rail and bus services have been restored On the pre-pandemic schedule for August, Widfeld said it was facing a “growing crisis” without further federal funding.
Metro board member Matt Letorna of Laudown County, Virginia Admittedly, riders are expected to arrive in September Did not return to use Mass Transit.
“Frankly, the big ticket to our metro system is the federal government, and I’m right to say that we expected more passengers to return when the federal government began to recall staff,” he said earlier in the year.
Widfeld said more federal aid from Congress would help avoid cuts.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the proposal was “very disturbing” and a reminder of the need for more federal assistance. She said it was important for everyone to come together to help Metro, “regardless of party or ideology.”
Mayor Bowser’s statement on the WMATA FY2022 budget proposal pic.twitter.com/62OTG0B5og
– Major Muriel Bows Sir (ay Mayor Bows Sir) December 1, 2020
From low fares to low budgets, the problems facing the metro are not exclusive. Widfeld said agencies in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Chicago are wrestling with similar issues without a clear idea of when their sources of revenue will return.
“In short, $ 500 million needs to be returned from the federal government to where we were basically.” Weidfeld said. “Now, that’s basically what we’re talking about, the sooner the better.”