Media Relations Contact:
September 23, 2003
'04 budget lower than '03
DART budget approved
DART's new budget maintains essential customer services and supports the continuing rail expansion program.
DART's Board of Directors has adopted an FY 2004 operating budget (including capital planning and development costs) of $308.5 million -- 6% lower than the $328.2 million in FY 2003.
To reduce its operating budget, DART eliminated 102 full-time salaried positions in early September as part of a program of lowering administrative and non-operating costs. Other savings were made through bus and rail service modifications reductions driven by ridership demand, and cuts in program development expenses. Other cost-containment moves included a voluntary early retirement program, a freeze on employee merit raises and the elimination of contractor-provided bus service. The budget increases spending for paratransit services for customers with mobility impairments and DART Police. The budget also includes an additional one-year delay in the rail expansion to Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Las Colinas, DFW Airport, Deep Ellum, Fair Park, South Dallas, Pleasant Grove and Rowlett through 2014.
The budget reductions and rail expansion delays are in response to the economic downturn and its impact on receipts from the DART one-cent sales tax. This is the third year of sales tax revenue declines with an anticipated shortfall of approximately $20 million. Sales taxes represent 81 percent of DART's total sources of funds available for operations.
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