Cap Metro's Operating Budget

FY 2010

Cap Metro's Operating Budget
Revenue2009 Forecast2010 Budget
Sales tax $140,394,858$134,106,477
Grant revenue$18,387,344$21,490,521
Rail freight$14,097,109$11,777,351
Passenger fares$7,804,853$9,005,393
Third-party fares$7,311,965$6,763,680
Investment income$1,017,831$280,000
Total revenue$190,453,549$185,414,997

Cap Metro's Operating Budget
Expenses2009 Forecast2010 Budget
Salaries & benefits$89,813,904$84,450,377
Purchased transportation$22,146,670$23,361,365
Freight rail$11,232,769$11,282,040
Materials & supplies$7,954,770$5,307,496
Total expenses$168,629,294$164,703,936
Projected operating surplus$21,824,256$20,711,061

The 2009 forecast projects what the agency will have taken in and spent in FY 2009, which concludes at the end of this month. The 2010 budget reflects staff predictions for FY 2010.

Clearly, the agency is mainly dependent on sales tax revenue, and salaries and benefits take the biggest bite for expenses.

If the projected $20.7 million budget surplus (shown in the last line) actually materializes, it will be spent on capital projects, payments to area mobility projects, and building up a cash reserve (see "How Cap Metro Hopes to Reach $10 Million," below). *Grant revenue listed for 2009 and 2010 reflects a Cap Metro "recognized inconsistency." The 2009 number combines grants for operations and capital expenditures, the 2010 number only operating grants. Although the agency expects total revenues to rise to $200 million this year, it will have no discretion over $14.9 million in capital grants – it must be spent on those projects or returned. (See "FY 2010 Capital Spending Recommendations" totals, below.) The $185 million in operating revenue can be spent as the agency sees fit.

FY 2010 Capital Spending Recommendations

Capital Spending by CategoryProject Amount Grant RevenueNet Spending
Information technology$6,990,500$5,364,000$1,626,500
MetroRail Phase II$2,375,725$2,375,725-
Paratransit vehicle$2,160,770$1,879,870$280,900
Rails With Trails$1,900,000$1,900,000-
Bus stop amenities$1,500,000$1,200,000$300,000
Facilities, design/$1,027,500$360,000$667,500
Building maintenance$418,000$254,800$163,200
Stop signage$306,667$245,333$61,333
Rideshare vehicles---
Transit-oriented development---

Source: Capital Metro

Capital spending includes purchases of equipment with a useful life greater than a year as well as projects – such as construction – that span more than one fiscal year.

Grant money would pay for almost 69% of the $21.65 million in capital projects proposed for this year.

Noticeably absent from this list: new buses. Because much of Cap Metro's fleet is nearing the end of its useful life, this expense likely can't be put off again in FY 2011.

How Cap Metro Hopes to Reach $10 Million

FY 2010 Budget Cash Summary
Beginning cash balance, Oct. 1, 2009$3,800,000
Operating budget surplus$20,711,061
Cash balance before disbursements$24,511,061
Projected net capital spending-$6,793,833
Build Central Texas/regional mobility/quarter-cent*-$3,700,000
Railcar lease principal-$3,100,000
Projected ending cash balance, Sept. 30, 2010$10,917,228

Source: Capital Metro

*Build Central Texas and regional mobility refer to local transportation projects; "quarter-cent" refers to a portion of Cap Metro's 1-cent sales tax that it sends back to local governments, a political move from 2000 to stave off calls to reduce the tax.

The agency currently has a critically low $3.8 million in cash reserves and aims to get above $10 million this fiscal year. If projections of a $20.7 million budget surplus come true, a combined $13.6 million will go to capital spending, diversions to area governmental partners, and railcar leases. Agency planners hope the remains will result in a $10.9 million bank account.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle