LOS Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has released an $US 8bn budget proposal for the 2022 financial year, which prioritises restoring services to pre-pandemic levels.

The proposed FY22 budget, which covers the period from July 1 2021 to June 30 2022, represents a 14.4% increase over FY21, primarily due to $US 682.5m in additional funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

The budget includes $US 442m for maintenance and renewals, including light and heavy rail car purchases for replacement and expansion ($US 92m); the modernisation of P2000 LRVs and AG50 trains ($US 90m); bus purchases ($US 59m); wayside systems ($US 77m); and facilities and bus maintenance, technology and other programmes ($US 124m).

It also contains $US 2.5bn for the Transit Infrastructure Programme, which includes the Crenshaw - LAX and Regional Connector light rail projects, both of which are slated to begin pre-revenue operation and testing, as well as the D Line (Purple) metro extension, the L Line (Gold) Foothill light rail extension, the Airport Metro Connector, and Interstate-5 North capacity enhancements.

Transit planning projects include predevelopment work to explore monorail and heavy rail for the Sepulveda Corridor; continuing environmental review for the North San Fernando Valley BRT; and continuing the draft environmental process for the C Line (Green) Extension.

Regional rail has been allocated $US 109.6m. This includes the completion of right-of-way acquisition and construction for projects such as Link Union Station and Rosecrans and Marquardt grade separations; and work on the High Desert Corridor Rail Service Study.

$US 2bn has been allocated to Transit Operations and Maintenance. This includes restoring rail service to pre-pandemic levels with adaptive headways; 7 million revenue service bus hours by September 2021; full implementation of the NextGen Bus Plan to enhance the current network and to reallocate underutilised services to high-ridership lines; plus customer experience and new system security initiatives.

The budget also proposes:

  • $US 480m for the highway programme, which includes major projects in construction and design
  • $US 104.7m for congestion management
  • $US 172m for other mobility initiatives, including active transport, community development, art and sustainability, and other projects
  • $US 1.38bn in regional subsidy funding, and
  • $US 582.6m for oversight, administration and debt.

“As the nation gradually recovers from the unexpected economic downturn caused by Covid-19, Metro approaches FY22 well-equipped to transport the Los Angeles County region into a forward-looking post-pandemic future,” says outgoing Metro CEO, Mr Phillip Washington. “Thanks to the accelerated roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations and anticipated economic recovery, as well as the continuation of federal stimulus for public transportation via the CRRSA Act, the $US 8bn FY22 Proposed Budget gives an optimistic outlook for the coming year.

“In response to immediate financial challenges arising from the pandemic, transit service levels were temporarily reduced in FY21 to align service with on-street realities. This reduction is being reversed in FY22 as Metro Transit operations restore bus and rail services to pre-pandemic levels. As more sectors of the economy continue to open and people slowly return to transit, Metro is committed to providing the region a vital mobility option that considers enhanced service for all riders.”

The Metro board of directors will consider the budget as part of their May round of meetings. The Metro Board will hold a budget hearing on May 19, and the full Metro Board will consider the budget at their meeting on May 27.

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