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Metro 2024-25 Budget Increases Spending to Boost Ridership, Bolster Safety

Published on Thursday, May 16, 2024 | 4:59 am
 

A Metro committee has approved the agency’s nearly $9 billion budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, and officials are saying Thursday the money will be used to finalize infrastructure projects, boost ridership and bolster safety.

Metro’s Finance, Budget and Audit Committee unanimously voted Wednesday in favor of moving the proposed budget forward for consideration by the agency’s Board of Directors at its meeting later this month. The spending plan must be adopted before the July 1 start of the 2024-25 fiscal year.

“In last year’s budget, we made significant investments in frequency, reliability, cleanliness, and safety, and we provided needed resources to advance our capital projects to provide more and better transit services to all Los Angeles County residents. Those investments helped boost our ridership by 10.2% in the first three-quarters of FY24 compared to FY23,” Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins wrote in her budget letter.

She added, “This year, we are doubling down on those commitments to welcome more riders back to our system and provide a better transit experience than ever before.”

The proposed $8.9 billion budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year is 4.3% lower, or a reduction of some $400 million, compared to the $9.3 billion budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Wiggins attributed the reduction to a $198 million decrease in revenues, and a decrease in grant funding coming to the agency. Additionally, bond proceeds and carryover funds are expected to drop in the coming fiscal year.

Highlights of the spending plan include:

  • $255.4 million for cleaning, a 14.4% or $32.1 million increase compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year;
  • $354.1 million for public safety resource deployment, an 11% or $35 million increase compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year;
  • $2.7 billion for transit operations for bus, rail and Metro Micro, a 11.4% or $272.4 million increase over the 2023-24 fiscal year;
  • $2.2 billion for various improvements to the bus system, including increasing frequency of service, an increase of 17.5% compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year;
  • $2 billion for Transit Infrastructure Development, representing a reduction of about 21% in this area compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year; and
  • $2.1 billion to cities to cover costs related to transit programs and services, along with funding for toll grants and open streets programs, a .03% reduction compared to the 2023-24 fiscal year.

In the coming fiscal year, Metro is expected to complete the Airport Metro connector in the fall, connecting the C and K Lines. The budget will also support testing and pre-revenue service on the D (Purple Line) Subway Extension Phase 1 and the Foothill A Line Extension to Pomona.

In a bid to create a stronger sense of security, Metro will hire 53 more Transit Security Officers and look to make permanent its Ambassador Program. In her letter, Wiggins also outlined plans to install tempered glass barriers to ensure the safety of bus operators.

Metro will look to hire 165 more custodians and facilities maintenance employees, and up to 50 part-time custodians through its Room-to-Work Program, which is geared to providing unhoused riders and other individuals with jobs in Metro.

Another area of focus is addressing safety and cleanliness at specific stations, including Pershing Square, Compton, Firestone, Harbor Freeway, Lake, Norwalk and Pico. Metro made improvements at the Westlake/MacArthur Park station that led to a decrease in crime and fare evasion that officials would like to see at other stations.

“The FY25 budget listens to our customers and makes investments in the areas they want us to address the most,” Wiggins said in her budget letter.

“As we look forward to hosting the FIFA World Cup, and the NBA All- Star Game in 2026, the Super Bowl in 2027, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028, each of these investments will help deliver a world-class transit system for residents and visitors to L.A. County that will help us be ready for those events as well as making legacy improvements that will benefit Angelenos long after all those activities are over.”

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