RTD (Blue Bus) Board Approves Budget: New & Modified Routes Planned
ESPAÑOLA – At its monthly Board meeting, the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) Board of Directors unanimously adopted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget.
The balanced budget reflects compliance with the Financial Policies, Capital Investment Plan (CIP) and the Long Term Financial and Strategic Plan (LTFP).
Overall expenditures for FY 16 total $11,231,339, representing a $713,003 (6.8 percent) increase over the amended FY 15 budget, which totaled $10,516,336. As presented, the budget provides for the continued implementation of new and modified routes which included the addition of several new trial routes (the Mountain Trail route as well as service to La Cienega and Las Golondrinas, both in Santa Fe County), capital investments and the maintenance of existing service levels.
In addition, the budget incorporates the recent acquisition of the Taos Chile line along with the offsetting federal revenues associated with its operations.
Of the total NCRTD expenditures, $4,447,190 is allocated out to fund regional services provided by the NM Rail Runner Express, Los Alamos Atomic City Transit and Santa Fe Trails, as approved by the Board.
The District’s operating revenue is comprised of approximately 63 percent from the Regional Transit GRT. The balance of District revenue is derived from federal allocations (26 percent), the Los Alamos County contribution (3 percent) and miscellaneous revenues (8 percent). The miscellaneous revenues category accounts for the District’s first fare-based weekend service, the Taos Express, as well as on-demand service and transit advertising revenues.
As a regional entity, the District provides funding for Board approved regional services delivered by other transit agencies throughout the area. As a result, $4,447,190, or 64 percent, of the total District Transit GRT revenues projected to be collected in FY 16 will be disbursed to Santa Fe Trails (14 percent), NM Rail Runner Express (30 percent) and Los Alamos Atomic City Transit (20 percent).
FY 2015 was the third year in which a decline in the Transit GRT in Los Alamos County resulting from a reduction in spending by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was experienced. That decline was offset by the continued increase in Transit GRT from Santa Fe and Taos Counties. As a result, a projection for slightly increased Transit GRT has been incorporated into this budget.
Due to past and ongoing conservative fiscal practices, the District continues to persevere through the impacts of a prolonged recession within the state of New Mexico. The Long Term Financial and Strategic Plan continues to provide the District with the ability to focus efforts on long-term initiatives, including funding for necessary service delivery, maintenance and capital needs, without compromising its financial future and allowing the District to balance its attention on both its short- and long-term needs.
The budget also contains funding to continue the District’s emphasis on “Service Excellence.” The program focuses on serving the District’s residents and visitors and represents the values that the District embraces in all interactions with its customers and with each other.
“This budget continues to provide for prudent spending, capital investment, service improvement, safety, security, reliability and just as significantly, investment in our employees who are the most essential asset of the District,” stated Anthony Mortillaro, Executive Director. “The preparation of this budget has been a collaborative effort involving each department head and the commitment of a dedicated and hardworking internal Finance Department.”
The North Central Regional Transit District’s RTD (“Blue Buses”) provide free bus service Monday through Friday to a service area that encompasses over 10,000 square miles of north central New Mexico including the counties of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos; the Cities of Santa Fe and Española and the Towns of Taos and Edgewood; as well as the Pueblos of Pojoaque, Ohkay Owingeh, Nambé, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Tesuque.
The company’s signature “RTD Blue Buses” provide additional transit connections to New Mexico Rail Runner, Santa Fe Trails, NMDOT Park and Ride, Los Alamos Atomic City Transit, Taos Chile Line and Red River Miner’s Transit. All of its buses are equipped with bike racks and are ADA accessible.