Chuck Kamp, general manager of Metro Transit, is one of many people unhappy about the state budget. He has to figure out how to make up a $1.8 million drop in state funding, which amounts to about 4% of Metro's $50 million budget. As Kamp says, "It's a big hit."
How Metro will deal with the cut won't be determined until the city finishes its budget later this year, but Kamp says "nothing has been removed from the table."
Potential consequences include a fare hike, service cuts and an increase in rates for bus ads.
The state budget also eliminated a potential new source of revenue by dissolving regional transit authorities, including one in Dane County.
"Regional governance and financing make more sense than individual municipal transit budgets," Kamp says. "It improves upon the system where one city owns the transit system and contracts out to other municipalities."
Despite the bleak picture, the new budget isn't all bad news for city transit. The state exempted transportation workers from losing the right to collectively bargain. Had they lost that right, the state could have forfeited $46 million (including about $7 million for Madison) in federal transit funds for not adhering to federal public employee protections.
Says Kamp, "It's an odd thing to describe as good news things in this budget, but there were some."