YOUNGSTOWN Rising fuel costs affect 2002 busing budget

The authority's expanded hours are expected to generate more riders and, therefore, more revenue next year.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Rising fuel costs will mean a 35 percent increase in expenditures for the Western Reserve Transit Authority from 2001 to next year, say figures in a 2002 budget unanimously adopted by the authority board.
Budget expenditures are expected to rise from $5.3 million this year to $7.1 million in 2002. Total revenue is expected to increase only slightly, from $6.8 million to $6.9 million.
The authority expects to end 2001 with a $8 million cumulative balance, a portion of which will fund the shortfall in next year's budget.
Rising gas prices: Costs will increase mainly in the areas of fuel because of the rising costs of gasoline and natural gas, Marianne Vaughn, the authority's secretary-treasurer, said at Thursday's meeting.
A maintenance expense, that includes fuel expenditures, would rise from an expected $1.5 million through 2001 to $2.1 million in 2002.
Vaughn said officials had expected that increase would be higher but managed to keep it at a minimum by selling buses that used high-cost compressed natural gas as fuel.
Expenses for administrative costs, which include energy, would rise from an expected $666,000 this year to $904,000 next year.
More riders: Revenue would rise most significantly in fares, with an increase from $611,000 to $627,000.
Those fare increases don't mean a rise in the 50-cent and $1 rates to ride WRTA buses. The increases represent an expectation of more riders next year because the authority has expanded its hours.
James J. Ferraro, executive director, said the 4,700 daily riders in May 2001 represent a 12-percent increase in ridership from May 2000. The increase has come on the heels of the authority's decision to increase busing service into later afternoon and evening hours. The ridership increase is expected to continue, bringing greater fare box revenue in 2002.
These numbers do not include $3.7 million in revenue and expenditures for capital projects to be funded by federal, state and local grant funds.

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