Actions to Address California Budget Cuts for Transit

 

Next Steps:
June 14: Service changes implemented

July 1: Fare changes implemented

On March 26, 2009, the MTS Board of Directors approved a proposal to cut service by $4.7 million and raise monthly pass fares for a $2.2 million subsidy. The service reductions are needed because of the elimination of State Transit Assistance funds by the State of California.

In the process of making this decision, over 1,000 comments were received via email, voicemail, and letter. The MTS Board adopted a strategy of plugging the budget gap with a combination of $4.7 million in service reductions and $2.2 million in fare increases.

Service Adjustments

Most service reductions consist of reduced frequencies on nights and weekends. Routes with lower ridership will be impacted more. Some days or route segments on these routes will be losing service. Service changes are effective June 14.

Please look at this chart to see how your route is affected.

Fare Adjustments

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the regional agency in charge of transit fares in San Diego County. The MTS Board approved the recommendation on March 26, SANDAG approved the fare changes May 8.

Product Current Proposed
Adult Monthly Pass $68 $72
Senior/Disabled/Medicare $17 $18
Youth Monthly Pass $34 $36
Premium Adult Monthly Pass $90 $100
Premium Senior/Disabled/Medicare Monthly Pass $22.50 $25
Premium Youth Monthly Pass $45 $50
Trolley Fare $2.50 (no change)
Trolley Senior/Disabled/Medicare Fare

$1.25 (no change)

Downtown Trolley Fare $1.25 $2.50
Downtown Trolley Senior/Disabled/Medicare Fare $0.60 $1.25
Local/Urban Bus Fare $2.25 (no change)
Local/Urban Bus Senior/Disabled/Medicare Fare $1.10 (no change)
Shuttle Fares:
Routes 851, 871/872, 904 $1.00 $2.25
Senior/Disabled/Medicare Shuttle Fare $0.50 $1.10


What Happened:

The State of California Legislature's budget passed on February 19, 2009, eliminating the State Transit Assistance fund for the next five years. This eliminated an important funding source and now requires public transit agencies all over the State of California to reduce their budgets.

For the Metropolitan Transit System, this eliminated $14 million from its operating budget. While MTS will still receive capital dollars from the Federal government to purchase badly needed buses (many of which are more than 15 years old), the state’s elimination of operating dollars forced MTS to consider reducing services or raising fares or a combination of both.

Also negatively impacting the MTS operating budget is reduced spending in the State of California. About 50% of the MTS operating budget relies on sales taxes. Revenues from TransNet sales taxes and Transportation Development Act revenues are expected to decline more than $12 million from 2007 levels.

Combined, MTS faced a shortfall of up to $17 million for the next fiscal year and reacted to fix its deficit.

MTS encourages you to learn more about the California budget and its impact on public transportation. Links to resources are below.

Transportation Development Act provides funding for public transit operators. This state fund is once quarter of a percent of the 7.75 percent sales tax assessed in the region. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is responsible for the apportionment of these funds within the San Diego region. Sales tax receipts for fiscal year 2009 are lower than originally anticipated and this trend is projected to continue through fiscal year 2010.

State Transit Assistance Funding from the Public Transportation Act (PTA), derives its revenue from the state sales tax on gasoline. The State has now eliminated this important revenue source.

More Information:

- Read the Governor's Fact Sheet on the Budget

- The Governor's Budget web page

- California Transit Association's Response to Budget Cuts

- L.A. Times Editorial about the Governor's budget

- L.A. Times Editorial about California's Transit Troubles

National Focus:

- L.A. Times story: A mass transit dilemma: Ridership up, funds down

- Transportation for America -- Jobs and Pocketbooks Threatened as Transit Agencies Face Cutting Jobs and Service, Raising Fares

How can I stay informed about potential service cuts in my area?

- Keep checking back here, at www.sdmts.com where we will keep you posted on public meetings and what we are considering

- Follow MTS on Twitter to know the latest on budget meetings, public hearings and possible service cuts (what is twitter?)

 

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