Director of Communications
The Metro Board of Commissioners today approved an operating budget of $243.1 million for Fiscal Year 2012 which allocates resources to run the transit system for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011. Higher gas prices will be one significant impact on the cost of operations. The Agency purchases approximately 6 million gallons of fuel annually, and the overall increase in fuel cost is expected to be $6 million for the year. Higher operating expenses also include an eight percent increase in parts and supplies due primarily to the volatility of metal prices.
Metro fares will remain the same in FY 2012 in an effort to continue to encourage ridership growth that was curtailed following the 2009 service cuts. The Agency projects that stable prices will generate an increase in passenger revenue due to ridership growth.
Metro President and CEO John Nations said the Agency continues to operate under tight spending and budget restrictions, and that the Agency will continue to improve the efficiency of operations.
The Board also approved Metro’s budget for capital projects that include the replacement, rehabilitation and modernization of infrastructure, vehicles, equipment and systems. A major project included in the budget is the construction of a new Scott Avenue Transit Plaza at the Grand MetroLink Station. The FY 2012 budget also allocates resources to begin planning for future transit projects such as Bus Rapid Transit and other initiatives identified in Metro’s long range plan for transit in the St. Louis region. Completion of expansion projects will also require funds from federal sources.
Metro will end Fiscal Year 2011 approximately $4.5 million under budget. Also during FY 11, Metro made significant achievements including:
• Restoration of the transit system footprint following the passage of Proposition A in St. Louis County.
• Adding an Economic Development Division committed to promoting economic development to improve the region and public transportation.
• Receiving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to rehabilitate the Eads Bridge.
• Dedicating the new Fire and Emergency Management Facility at the Agency’s St. Louis Downtown Airport.
• Beginning to rebuild the fleet by taking delivery of 50 new reduced emissions, low-floor buses.
Metro’s budget and financial reporting processes continue to win recognition. Last week, the Government Finance Officers Association notified Metro that it will receive a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Other awards and recognition received by Metro and staff this fiscal year include:
• Second place from the International Association of Public Participation for the innovative program used by Metro to create the region’s first 30-year long range plan.
• Jessica Mefford-Miller, Chief of Planning & System Development, named to the “Top 30 Business People Under 30 in the St. Louis Region” list by the St. Louis Business Journal.
• Deb Erickson, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, received “Most Influential Business Women Award” by the St. Louis Business Journal.
• Patricia Hall, Director of ADA Services, was recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal with the “Diverse Business Leader Award.”
• Michael Mavrogeorge, Fire Chief at St. Louis Downtown Airport, received the “Airport Fire Rescue Achievement Award” by the American Association of Airport Executives.