Metro’s budget is balanced at $5.7 billion – a net decrease of $142 million from the previous year, primarily due to cost controls and increased fiscal discipline. Even with the savings achieved, the budget provides funding to keep our system in a state of good repair.
During fy 2016, Metro’s record of fiscal responsibility and prudent debt management was rewarded with increases to our credit ratings. In November 2015, Moody’s upgraded Metro’s General Revenue bonds by two notches and all other long-term outstanding debt by one notch. Standard & Poor’s upgraded its rating of the General Revenue Bonds by three notches to AA during fy 2016. As of June 30, 2016, Metro’s bonds are rated Aa1/AAA for Proposition A 1st Tier Senior and Measure R Senior bonds, Aa2/AA+ for Proposition C bonds, and Aa2/AA for General Revenue bonds.
Through effective auditing, we ensured that Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R funds were used for the intended projects/ programs. Additionally, through audits of contracts and grant agreements, we identified $19.7 million of cost-saving opportunities and $8.4 million of unused funds that may be re-programmed to other Call for Projects. The funding allows us to examine new tech-nology that will help make Metro more secure.
This year we tested a new video analytics program that monitors passengers as they come and go from Metro Rail stations. When an anomaly is identified, the system flags it and sends it to authorities, giving them a chance to respond more quickly. Such technology may become part of our approach to keeping our patrons and our employees safe.
After a successful pilot test, Metro is expanding use of mobile video monitoring technology. Mobile monitoring makes it possible to send live video from Metro Rail and bus stations directly to a smartphone or tablet. This can give first responders advanced warning of what to expect on a call before they arrive.
To save taxpayer dollars, Metro continues to aggressively identify and pursue other vehicle drivers who cause damage to Metro buses and property. The total recoveries collected in fy 2016 exceeded $1.6 million, the highest recovery amount for the past eight fiscal years.
The Metro Board adopted the Risk Allocation Matrix (RAM), ensuring financial stability as an agency-wide responsibility. RAM is a collaborative process to identify a strategic mix of cost savings and new revenue generating initiatives.
Safety is priority number one at Metro, both for our patrons and for our employees, and this philosophy continues to pay dividends. We’re proud to say that the number of reported industrial injuries was reduced by 4.6 percent in fy 2016, saving pain and suffering for our employees, and saving the agency an estimated $3 million in future disability, medical and legal expenses.
Metro’s Security & Law Enforcement Division collaborated with the Emergency Management department to plan, design and coordinate training and incident-driven exercises with more than 20 fire, police and city agencies, as well as federal and private entities, to ensure safe travels for our patrons on the new Metro Gold and Expo Line extensions.
We tested first responder safety and multi-agency communication and coordination on all Metro Rail lines to prepare for emergency incidents we hope will never happen. But if they do, we’ll be ready.
To help keep our patrons – and our operators – safe, we implemented the National Safety Council defensive driving instructor and operator program for bus operators. The program will help reduce vehicle accidents by giving bus operators the tools to identify hazards and react in time to prevent a collision.
We continued installation of on-board video monitors and operator barriers to improve the safety of our patrons and our operators.
To help keep us all safe, Metro appointed a new Transit Security Director and a Security and Law Enforcement Compliance Manager to lead and monitor performance of Metro’s security and law enforcement teams. With an emphasis on getting back to basics, Metro has created a train riding team focused on increasing security and visibility across the transit system, to ensure that all patrons are mindful of Metro’s Code of Conduct. The security team is adding 77 new Metro positions and more than 200 contract positions. Metro is providing a better and safer customer experience at Union Station East. We introduced a new passenger pick-up and drop-off facility to separate passenger vehicles from buses on Patsaouras Plaza, and added new fencing to direct pedestrians to crosswalks and away from vehicle traffic. We also renovated the plaza pavers and storm drains, renovated the aquarium exhibit, fountains and passenger restrooms, improved lighting and wayfinding signage, and introduced new concession kiosks.
We established a homelessness task force to address the impact of homelessness on our transit system. Working in partnership with the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, multiple municipal jurisdictions, non-profit agencies and social service agencies, Metro’s goal is to implement a comprehensive strategy to direct those in need to shelters and health services, as an alternative to seeking shelter within the transit network.