One Metro department escaped the budgetary axe and actually got an increase in Mayor Karl Dean’s spending plan for the next fiscal year. That’s because Dean wants to focus public transit monies on a regional network.
While most Metro Departments have to cut their budgets as much as 10-percent for the fiscal year beginning in July, the Metropolitan Transit Authority received a $2.3 million increase. The department is also getting a $37 million boost in the capital spending plan.
Dean says strengthening mass transit is part of managing long-term growth. And he says gas prices are already on their way back up.
“We need to have a good mass transit system in place, not only because of the price of gas, but to make sure we’re a competitive city with the cities we compete for businesses with, that we compete for residents with such as Austin and Charlotte. They have already instituted light rail service this year.”
Dean’s administration also has a bill before the state legislature that would allow the city to establish a dedicated funding stream for regional mass transit. He says investing local money this year is part of pushing that bigger process along.
The Metro Council begins hearings on Dean’s proposed $1.5 billion budget today.