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MARTA Begins Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Approval Process
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 28, 2009
CONTACT: Andrea Coleman, 404.848.3982 or Cara Hodgson 404.848.5157
MARTA BEGINS Fiscal Year 2010 BUDGET APPROVAL PROCESS
Staff to Present Budget Recommendations to Board of Directors’ Business Management Committee Meeting Today
MARTA staff will present its recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposal to its board of directors at their monthly Business Management Committee meeting today. The committee meeting will take place in the Board Room of the MARTA Lindbergh headquarters building (2424 Piedmont Road) beginning at 9:00 a.m. The board will vote to allow the proposed FY10 budget to be presented during public hearings scheduled for June 16 and June 17, 2009.
Faced with a massive budget deficit stemming from the serious economic downturn, MARTA staff is recommending the authority’s board of directors adopt a series of internal and external cost cutting measures to balance its FY10 budget.
External recommendations include a 25 cent base fare increase; a three-year adjustment in pass prices; a commitment to implement variable-based fares by FY 2012; a $1 parking fee hike at 9 lots; transit service modifications including elimination of non-productive bus routes and efficiency adjustments to duplicative, overlapping service routes; and adjusting rail service headway and hours of service to end rail service at midnight.
Internal cost savings/containment recommendations include the elimination of annual merit increases for all non-represented employees; an increase in medical benefit contributions for all non-represented employees; implementation of up to a 10-day furlough for non-represented employees. In addition, the Amalgamated Transit Union local 732, which serves MARTA’s represented employees, has agreed to a 15-month deferral on collective bargaining on economic matters due to the current economic conditions.
Staff recommendations are based on the assumption that a proposal by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to re-allocate up to $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding to the authority will be approved. The ARC’s board of directors passed the measure yesterday. It must now be approved by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Board of Directors, which is scheduled to vote on the proposal on June 10, 2009. If the measure is passed, it will then need to be signed by Governor Sonny Perdue to become effective.
This proposal is a one-time funding infusion that will keep MARTA afloat next year. The criticality of increased state and regional transportation funding is absolutely urgent. Unless immediate action is taken to identify a permanent and dedicated source of funding for transit, MARTA will face significantly more severe budget shortfalls starting in FY 2011.
MARTA’s Fiscal Year 2010 begins July 1. The authority’s board of directors is scheduled to vote on a final budget proposal on June 22.