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RTC board OKs $919.2 million budget for fiscal ‘16

Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada board members on Thursday cruised through the approval of a $919.2 million budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the finance plan after receiving no public comment or making any remarks about the plan that was first introduced in April.

The RTC’s budget includes $593.2 million for capital expenses, $212.6 million for services and supplies, $80 million for debt service to repay money borrowed for some of the larger projects and $33.4 million for employee salaries and benefits.

Among the major capital acquisitions are $5.6 million toward construction of the Transit Mobility Center, which already is underway with money from the current fiscal year; $8.2 million for bus shelters and other safety enhancements; $8.6 million toward the purchase of 80 compressed natural gas paratransit vehicles and $38.2 million toward the purchase of 55 natural gas fixed-route bus vehicles and $46.9 million toward the Flamingo Road corridor improvements.

Most of the commission’s major capital projects are funded between 80 percent and 85 percent by federal grant programs.

Commission staff has estimated getting a 3 percent increase in sales and use tax revenue to $178 million, a 1 percent increase in bus fare revenue to $70.9 million and a 1.2 percent increase in its share of the state motor vehicle fuel tax to $67 million.

The commission also is projecting $75 million in additional revenue through its three-year fuel revenue indexing program.

Commission staff budgeted $43 million for its paratransit program and $96 million for fixed-route contracts, which will include an increase of 70,000 hours of new service.

In other business from Thursday’s meeting, the commission approved a two-year pilot program that will enable military veterans to apply for a special veterans identification card that would allow them to ride fixed-route buses at half price.

Veterans using the program must submit service records when they apply for the ID at the Bonneville Transit Station beginning next week.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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