It was just a few weeks ago when you could practically feel the glee as Metro announced they'd be receiving some $230 in stimulus money. Grandiose plans were outlined that were shovel ready, would create jobs and improve Metro. Everyone was thrilled.
But there was always that pesky budget gap that was first reported to be $154 million that Metro was able to shrink to $29 million "by raising revenue projections, cutting expenses and slashing more than 300 jobs."
We've already seen the kind of projections Metro is capable of.
Now this: "Metro’s board chairman says the transit agency is poised to scrap its plans for cutting transit service and instead use federal stimulus money to close what remains of a budget shortfall."
Benjamin [Peter Benjamin, who represents Maryland] added, though, that using a portion of the transit agency’s approximately $200 million share of federal stimulus funds to plug the hole would mean an even bigger challenge in coming years. The stimulus money is a one-time addition to the coffers, but Metro’s costs aren’t expected to drop. “The issue is: What is the second act?” Benjamin said.
He said the agency would likely need higher fare increases, bigger taxpayer subsidies or service cuts in the future.
Why make tough choices--like marginal service cuts-- now when you can pass them on to someone else down the line who'll have to really wield the chainsaw to your service? We don't think this bodes well for Metro's future.
A softer take from GGW