WMATA: Salaries of General Manager and High-Level Managers Seem OK; Media Should Focus on Metro’s Uncertain Funding Structure

The local media seems fixated on equating Metro issues to fare increases. Fare increases are seen by the ridership most directly, but they are not Metro’s sole source of income. As discussed in a prior post, Metro’s finances are difficult because the agency does not have a single source of funding like other transit agencies in the United States. If the local media were to focus on this particular issue, rather than just stirring irritation for its sake alone, it would truly be doing a great service.

The first chart below shows the amount of subsidy funding that Metro receives from Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. The second chart shows Metro’s income from fares and parking fees. It seems that the states and the passengers essentially share equally in paying for the operating expenses of Metro.

The third chart shows the number of trips taken in Metro vehicles. It seems relatively steady.

The Washington Post reported on the level of salaries of Richard Sarles, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Metro, and other high-level managers at Metro. Salaries are usually the highest expense at any organization; as long as the the salary is reasonably tied to the work expected, the salary level mutually determined by the parties should be OK.

State

Amount of Funding

(components are rounded; in millions of dollars)

FY 2010

FY 2011

FY 2012

Maryland

215.6

228.1

246.4

District of Columbia

201.6

214.15

233.3

Virginia

129.4

129.7

142.2

Subtotal subsidy

546.7

572.0

622.0

Debt service

27.5

48.7

48.7

Total (budgeted)

574.2

620.7

670.7

Actual*

[630.7]

(6/30/10)

[722.51]

(6/30/11)

 

*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of cash flows.

Passenger Fares and Parking Fees

(rounded; in millions of dollars)

FY 2010

FY 2011

FY 2012

Budgeted

702.7

789.5

767.7

Actual*

727.8 (6/30/10)

804.5 (6/30/11)

*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in net assets. This statement does not identify parking fee revenue; I used the total revenue amount in the table.

Ridership

(in number of trips)

2010

2011

2012

Rail

Bus

Rail

Bus

217,219,146

123,670,000

217,052,000

124,173,000

Data for 2010 comes from Metro’s 2010 Media Guide. Data for 2011 comes from Metro’s Metro Facts.

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