- (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
WMATA's board of directors is meeting this morning and talking many subjects — including what is driving up the cost of Metro's budget for the 2013 fiscal year. Here's the biggest drivers of growth that Metro has identified and is presenting on this morning:
• 32% increase in pension costs, which are expected to peak and begin flattening around 2014.
• 8% growth in health care expenses as more employees are retiring.
• 5% growth in casualty and liability insurance costs, which still haunt WMATA after the 2009 Red Line crash at Fort Totten.
If you compare the fiscal-year budgets for 2012 and 2013, WMATA is expected to budget about $66.3 more for the next year in the pro forma expenses. Total budget numbers are $1.465 billion for 2012 and an anticipated $1.531 billion for 2013. Salaries and wages eat up a healthy chunk of those totals (more than $650 million) as do health and pension costs, especially in the pro forma 2013 budget (more than $350 million along with other benefits).
The WMATA board will meet in November to discuss some of the proposed initiatives for the 2013 fiscal-year budget and will have the preliminary operating budget by December. In January will come the proposal, in February the room for public input, and from March to June, budget deliberations. Apparently 188 business initiatives have been evaluated, WMATA says.
More news on the Dulles rail will come soon — board members expect ridership estimates by next month. Setting up the Dulles extension is expected to cost about $107 million over the next three years.