Early in the summer, when Capital Metro began the process of drafting its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Chief Financial Officer Reinet Marneweck said staff would prepare best- and worst-case scenarios for the public transportation agency’s board of directors regarding revenue.
Capital Metro is not funded through property taxes. To pay bus operators and mechanics, build new infrastructure, maintain its vehicles and cover other budget expenses, Capital Metro largely relies on a 1% sales tax levied throughout the area it serves.
That sales tax revenue took a significant dive this spring as businesses struggled in the wake of government shutdown orders intended to keep the public safe from the spread of COVID-19. However, sales have rebounded since April.
When the Capital Metro board of directors voted to adopt the agency’s budget for fiscal year 2020-21 in a 6-0 vote Sept. 28, the sales tax revenue projections for the upcoming year landed squarely between Marneweck’s best- and worst-case projections.
Capital Metro projects it will bring in $251.7 million in sales tax revenue during the FY 2020-21 budget cycle, a $14 million drop from the number it forecasted last year. In June, Marneweck estimated the revenue for the next budget cycle could come in somewhere between $245.1 million and $264.4 million.
Overall, the $390.5 million FY 2020-21 budget is down 3.27% from FY 2019-20, and operating expenses—money spent on vehicles, salaries, fuel and other ongoing expenses to run the transportation network—are down 3.4%.
MOBILITY AUTHORITY STARTS TOLLWAY MAINTENANCE ACROSS NORTHWEST AUSTIN
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, a transportation organization, is performing maintenance work on numerous roadways in Northwest Austin throughout October and November.
In a Sept. 23 news release, the Mobility Authority stated road maintenance will begin on 183A Toll, the express lane on MoPac and SH 45 N.
Work on the roadways will include replacing road striping, delineator posts and signage.
According to the Mobility Authority, the new delineator posts installed on MoPac near Parmer Lane will change the gap that currently exists on the roadway. The new break directs vehicles to exit the express lane, merge into the untolled lanes and exit MoPac at the Parmer exit.
“Unfortunately, we’ve observed unlawful and dangerous ‘lane divers’ illegally crossing over into the express lane from the general-purpose lanes at this location,” the agency wrote in its Sept. 23 news release.
Short term lane closures are scheduled throughout the maintenance work during off-peak hours.
Parmer Lane diverging diamond
TxDOT crews began reconstruction of the southbound I-35 frontage road between Parmer Lane and Yager Lane in October. The road will be reduced to one lane through November.
Timeline: July 2019-mid-2021
I-35 at US 183 flyovers
More than half of the beams for the three new flyovers at I-35 and US 183 have been set, according to TxDOT Public Information Officer Bradley Wheelis. This work will continue through late 2020. State crews have begun widening the I-35 bridge at US 290 E. and US 290 mainlanes will be reduced through 2020.
Timeline: January 2018-mid-2021
North Lamar Boulevard improvements
City of Austin crews are continuing construction at North Lamar Boulevard and West Powell Lane. Additions include new traffic signals, crosswalks, new curbs and a median.
Timeline: spring 2020-late fall 2020