Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s $1.8 billion budget went into effect Oct. 1 after approval from the board of directors in September.

What you need to know

The board of directors approved the fiscal year 2023-24 budget in an 8-5 vote during a Sept. 28 meeting. The budget includes about $1.8 billion in planned expenses and about $1.16 billion in projected revenue.
The board will vote on the agency’s 20-year financial plan in October after members voted to table it.

The specifics

The budget includes funding for DART’s Mobility Plus program, a series of initiatives aimed at expanding and improving the agency’s transit network. In 2024, DART plans to add 40 bus operators and two bus routes in Plano and Irving.

The agency also plans to hire 15 full-time employees to reopen DART’s transit centers that closed during the pandemic. The centers have been partially reopened as a public safety response against extreme heat.

Also of note

Before the vote, board members discussed the budget during a committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Board member Paul Wageman called for the operating budget to be slashed by about $25 million, calling the budget’s growth “unsustainable.” He said ridership was “trending in the wrong direction,” while the agency continues to increase its budget.

“I know there’s $30 [million] or $40 million in here that we don’t need to be spending,” he said.

DART’s operating budget saw about a 7.7% increase compared to FY 2022-23’s operating budget. Its ridership fell in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not recovered to prepandemic levels.

In 2019, DART saw more than 70 million riders, according to performance metrics available on the agency's website. Ridership fell to nearly 36 million in 2021 but has since rebounded. As of August, DART has seen more than 45 million riders.

Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Reich said the operating budget saw an increase because of rising costs in fuel, electricity, service adjustments and more.

“The inflationary environment is one that everyone is grappling with, so it’s not an excuse but it [is] a reason,” she said.