“Our fiscal year 2011 draft budget increases MetroBus and MetroRail service, increases our financial reserves and improves bus stop accessibility,” writes Linda Watson, Capital Metro‘s brand-new president and CEO, in the preface to the proposed fiscal year 2011 budget. That sounds pretty good, but of course, the devil is always in the details. Left out of that statement: that increased service will actually be used by fewer people and the financial reserves will be attained partially by cuts in service to those who need it most.
Only a masochist would envy the job expectations of Watson and her staff in formulating the budget – after a combination of recession woes and unwise spending dug the agency into a financial hole, she must now simultaneously build up the transit agency’s bank account, make the new rail line a success, take care of transit-dependent riders while convincing those with other choices to leave their cars at home, pay off funds owed to the city of Austin, and ultimately make Cap Metro financially sustainable.
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