Metro GM proposes 15 billion dollar budget to improve service

Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is unveiling a new proposal to solve the transit agency's funding problems.

This is one way Wiedefeld says Metro can address its long standing funding problems and deal with what he calls Metro's unsustainable cost structure.

The plan is to seek new, dedicated funds from local governments and about 500 million for equipment and maintenance.

Wiedefeld says Metro needs 15 billion dollars over the next 10 years for investments in order to remain safe and reliable.

Outsourcing work to private companies to run trains, bus stations, or lines is also being considered.

The general manager would also like to reign in labor costs making pension benefits less generous.

In addition, Wiedefeld says he would like to set up a 26-million-dollar rainy day fund to pay for snowstorms and other emergencies.

Wednesday evening Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans weighed in on Wiedefeld’s plan.

"We have a system that is unreliable, somewhat safe, in deplorable condition physically and otherwise. If this region wants to have a third world transit system, an embarrassment, then don't do this. Keep doing what you're doing."

Wiedefeld says Metro's business model must change as operating expenses are growing at nearly twice the rate of revenue.

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