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 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The MTA board of directors Aug. 25 unanimously adopted a $3.3 billion spending plan that maintains bus and rail passenger fares at current levels and provides for the immediate funding needs of rail construction projects now under way.
 The MTA's first full budget includes a reduction of $20 million in annualized personnel costs that will result from the merger of the MTA's predecessor agencies.
 The budget provides $574.4 million for 6.9 million hours of bus service, 81,000 hours of Metro Blue Line service and 16,000 hours of Metro Red Line service, anticipated to serve about 400 million passengers during the fiscal year.
 Construction projects include continuing the Green Line and Segment 2 of the Red Line, continuing work on all three extensions of Segment 3 of the Red Line and the L.A. to Pasadena line, and improving rail grade and construction site safety on all projects.
 The FY 93-94 budget will be balanced, said MTA Chief Executive Officer Franklin White, thanks to available reserve funds. But the MTA still faces an operations shortfall of approximately $140 million for FY 94-95. White said MTA staff is conducting a thorough analysis to bring recommendations to the board on ways to reduce the deficit.
 "This budget is the result of many hours of hard work and reflection by MTA staff and board members," White said. "Our united mission is to provide a quality, comprehensive public transportation system in a fiscally responsible manner. I believe this budget achieves that goal."
 White said MTA's budget should be seen as the first step in a long- range view of Los Angeles County public transportation. Among the budget's stated goals:
 -- Reduce overcrowding by adding 40 buses to 25 of MTA's most crowded bus lines.
 -- Maintain bus and train fares at current levels.
 -- Add up to 130 police and security personnel for bus and rail systems.
 -- Add $18 million for the purchase of new buses.
 -- Procure more than 320 additional buses and paratransit vehicles.
 -- Prepare for the 1995 start-up of Metro Green Line operations, including a bus-rail interface.
 -- Close the $140 million shortfall by improving operational efficiency and re-examining fare and service structures.
 As part of the motion to adopt the budget, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan called for MTA staff to return in 120 days with a multiyear management plan for controlling and eliminating rail operating deficits.
 In addition to adopting staff's recommendation to allot $40 million for continued design work on the Los Angeles to Pasadena light rail line, Riordan's motion further stipulates that MTA staff is to identify an additional $57 million to accomplish the following:
 -- Complete the final design work;
 -- Proceed with utility relocation;
 -- Proceed with work on the Los Angeles River Bridge, and
 -- Complete the acquisition of properties for approved stations.
 When the source of the $57 million is agreed upon, the motion also requires that, prior to award of additional construction contracts for the line, MTA staff will report to the board on its efforts to procure the remaining funds for the line.
 To meet the Green Line's construction expenses over the next two years, the budget calls for the transfer of state rail bonds from the North Coast Extension ($106 million) and the use of Proposition C funds earmarked for transit-related highway improvements ($308 million).
 The proposed budget authorizes 9,154 positions, the majority of which will provide day-to-day bus and rail service throughout the region.
 At the end of June and July, the board adopted one-month interim budgets that allowed more time to resolve funding shortfalls in the FY 93-94 budget.
 As part of the June action, the board approved $907 million in transportation projects recommended as part of the FY 93-94 Call for Projects, while deferring $193 million originally targeted for Caltrans Traffic Operations Systems (TOS) projects. That money will be subject to future programming of alternative transportation projects.
 -0- 8/25/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Davy or Jim Smart of MTA News Bureau, 213-972-4400, 213-244-7443/

CO: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ST: California IN: SU:

JL-MF -- LA034 -- 5947 08/25/93 21:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1993

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