The Board of Commissioners of the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro) approved the budget for the new fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2014. The budget, which incorporates a planned five percent fare increase, outlines $315.9 million in operational expenses before depreciation and a $602.8 million (three year) capital budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY2015).
The FY2015 budget allocates resources to run the public transit system and all other BSDA business enterprises from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. It includes a 3.1 percent increase over last year’s total expenses before depreciation in the operating budget. The increases are due primarily to higher fuel and maintenance costs, rising employee benefit expenses and rehabilitation projects for MetroLink and MetroBus stops. The FY2015 operating budget will sustain transit service at its current level and includes resources for some service enhancements.
“We will continue to manage our financial and physical resources to assure that the Agency will be able to fulfill its important role in the economic future of the region,” said John Nations, Bi-State Development Agency President and CEO. “Steady transit passenger growth underscores how important and necessary our transit services are in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and we look forward to creating even more economic growth opportunities in Fiscal Year 2015.”
The FY2015 capital budget allocates resources for major capital projects planned in FY2015, including the expansion of the Civic Center Transit Center in downtown St. Louis, construction of the North County Transit Center, updating the fare collection system, continuing rehabilitation of the historic Eads Bridge, and transit service vehicle replacement. The budget also includes resources needed to plan future transit projects such as Bus Rapid Transit route planning, and resources to begin the planning process required to determine how future MetroLink expansions will be achieved.
The transit system operated by Metro provides service in three modes—MetroBus, MetroLink, and Metro Call-A-Ride. The public transit system includes the 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; a fleet of 375 MetroBus vehicles that operate on 75 routes; and the Metro Call-A-Ride fleet which consists of 120 vans.
Bi-State Development Agency also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and surrounding its industrial business park. It is third busiest airport in the State of Illinois and provides a $584 million economic impact to the St. Louis region. BSDA/Metro also operates the Gateway Arch trams and ticket center, the Gateway Arch parking garage and owns and operates the Gateway Arch Riverboats.