Metro To Make Cutbacks In Light Of Reduced Budget

Metro's proposed 2011 budget shows a drastic decrease from its 2010 spending plan. Despite the reduction, officials say fares won't increase and services will remain intact. But as Wendy Siegle reports, in order to operate on a scaled-down budget, the transit agency will have to make some cutbacks.
Metro posted its fiscal 2011 budget online today. It will be presented to the board in a public hearing on Monday. The proposed budget shows a 31 percent reduction from the 2010 plan. That’s a difference of 430-million dollars. Still, Metro’s President and CEO George Greanias says Metro users won’t feel the pinch.

“This budget maintains our commitment to transit services. Not only is there no fare increase, I think the average customer will see no change in their services.”


But with a slashed budget Greanias says some things will have to be cut if Metro wants to avoid operating in a deficit. This means some of the work on the light rail program will be stalled. Other cost-saving measures include getting rid of some 150 printers at Metro and eliminating car allowances for upper management. Employees will also be paying more for their health insurance premiums. As far as job losses go, Greanias says Metro intends to preserve the human infrastructure of the agency.

“We’re trying very hard not to cut into our staff because that is the core of our operation. Those are the folks that deliver services to our customers.”


The drop in the budget mostly stems from the results of a federal inquiry into Metro’s purchasing practices, and the consequent delay in a 900-million dollar federal grant for Houston’s light rail project. Greanias says he’s confident Metro will eventually get the funding, but says it’s prudent not to count on it coming in the next fiscal year.

After considering the public’s comments, Metro will move to officially adopt the budget during a special meeting Tuesday.

You can leave your comments and view the proposed Metro budget at blogs.ridemetro.org/blogs/write_on/archive/2010/09/13/Tell-Us-What-You-Think-about-the-Budget.aspx.