RFTA revenues sag more than expected
December 11, 2009
CARBONDALE – The Roaring Fork Valley bus system’s financial picture for 2009 will be a little more bleak than expected because of falling revenues and rising expenditures.
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s sales tax revenues will drop about 18 to 19 percent compared to 2008, according to CEO Dan Blankenship. The staff had previously forecast a drop of 17 to 18 percent. Fare revenues are also slightly behind the forecast, Blankenship wrote in a memo to RFTA’s board of directors.
The adjusted outlook indicates RFTA’s revenue shortfall for the year will be about $1.4 million, according to Blankenship. He reminded the directors that $575,000 of that shortfall is necessary for a matching grant to purchase eight new buses. RFTA got a state grant to cover part of the purchase. The grant came sooner than expected and presents an opportunity RFTA couldn’t afford to pass up – so it is spending funds that weren’t budgeted for 2009.
RFTA will balance its 2010 budget by slashing service and hiking fares. The average cash fare increased 22 percent for travel between Aspen and downvalley towns. The price of seasonal and annual passes increased 10 percent.
RFTA is also paring bus service at some times. The total reduction will be 12,600 hours and 252,100 miles.