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PRTC

Proposed Service Reductions & Fare Increases For PRTC's FY2017 Budget

 

 

Prince William County to adopt FY17 budget on May 6

 

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors held its FY17 budget markup meeting on Tuesday, April 19. During the meeting, multiple changes to the Acting County Executive’s recommended budget were proposed, but none affected the FY17 plan to provide PRTC with an additional $6 million in funding achieved by separating revenue sources for PRTC and VRE.

 

If the budget is adopted as proposed, PRTC will have a balanced budget for FY17 but not for its 5-year budget plan – a document the County uses to help determine future needs. This could result in a fight to sustain transportation services in future years.

 

The Supervisors are scheduled to adopt the County's FY17 budget on Friday, May 6, and PRTC remains hopeful that drastic cuts to bus services will not be necessary in the next year. Assuming budget adoption as proposed, PRTC service reductions/modifications and fare increases – which were the subjects of public hearings earlier this year – will take place in July 2016 as planned.(Details about the service reductions/modifications and fare increases are below.)

 

Thank you for your past support, and please continue to speak up about the importance of public transportation to you and our community! Feel free to share this message with others to spread the word! And check out this easy-to-understand graphic       about PRTC’s budget situation. 

 

Thank you. 

 

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Video Testimonials...Watch...Learn...Share

 

A compilation of voices from the community stating the importance of public transportation for the Prince William community and the need to fully fund PRTC's services. - Play Video

 

 

A compilation of voices from the community stating the importance of public transportation for the Prince William community and the need to fully fund PRTC's services.


Betty Dean, Chair, Coalition for Human Services Explains Why Transit Benefits Even Non-Users - Play Video

 

 

Betty Dean, one of PRTC's many supporters, speaks about the importance of PRTC's bus services to the community and the benefits of transit to even non-users.


Michael Turner, Dean of Students, NOVA Woodridge Campus Shares Why Bus Service Is Vital To NOVA Students - Play Video

 

 

Michael Turner, Dean of Students, NOVA Woodridge Campus Shares Why Bus Service Is Vital To NOVA Students


Camilla Johnson, PRTC Bus Operator Shares Insights Received From Her Customers - Play Video

 

 

Camilla Johnson, PRTC Bus Operator Shares Insights Received From Her Customers


Frank Principi, Chairman PRTC Board of Commissioners, invites feedback on PRTC's proposed service cuts and fare increases - Play Video

 

 

Frank Principi, Chairman PRTC Board of Commissioners, Invites Feedback on PRTC's Proposed Service Cuts and Fare Increases


Eric Marx, PRTC's Interim Executive Director,  explains the reasons for PRTC's budget deficit and what riders and the community at large can do to help. - Play Video

 

 

Eric Marx, PRTC's Interim Executive Director, explains the reasons for PRTC's budget deficit and what riders and the community at large can do to help.


Sheree Thomas of The Independence Empowerment Center, speaks about how access to public transportation transforms the lives of people with disabilities. - Play Video

 

 

Sheree Thomas of The Independence Empowerment Center, speaks about how access to public transportation transforms the lives of people with disabilities.


Sandra Anderson, veteran PRTC bus operator shares her observations about how bus services assist area residents to be productive, self-sufficient members of the community. - Play Video

 

 

Sandra Anderson, veteran PRTC bus operator shares her observations about how bus services assist area residents to be productive, self-sufficient members of the community.


 

 

Resource Materials:

 

These items were prepared for PRTC's FY2017 budget public hearings, which were held in February 2016.

 

English
Spanish (Español)

        

 

 

What's The Problem?

Service Reductions & Fare Increases to Impact Prince William Area Commuters and Local Bus Riders in 2016

While declining gasoline and diesel fuel costs are providing an economic benefit for consumers and business, public transit authorities are losing significant revenues as the result of declining motor fuel taxes. The loss of those revenues for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) has created a $9.2 million budget deficit that is forcing a proposed cut in commuter and local bus services, and a proposed fare increase starting in July 2016. (Review the FAQs to learn more.)

 

In addition to the loss of motor fuels tax revenue, PRTC’s budget gap for 2016-2017 is due to:

  • The imminent depletion of a motor fuels tax reserve fund that Prince William County has used as the sole source for paying its public transportation obligations since 2008; and
  • The loss of federal funding due in part to the conversion of the I-95 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

How Did PRTC Get Into This Funding Crisis?

While PRTC’s potential budget shortfall has been discussed for years, three events have now conspired to create an immediate funding crisis: 1) the combination of inadequate local funding, 2) falling fuel tax revenue, and 3) reduced federal funding.

 

  • Elimination of local general fund support for transit: Prior to FY09, Prince William County supplemented its motor fuels tax earnings with general fund appropriations averaging $1.4 million per year (and as high as $2.1 million per year). With authorized spending significantly exceeding tax revenue, the reserve fund will be fully depleted by FY17. 
  • Drop in 2.1% motor fuels tax revenue: Fuel prices began falling in September 2014, and tax revenues remain far below FY14 budget projections for the FY16–FY19 period—on average, revenues are $5 million per year lower than projections used for the FY17 budget for the same four years. The significance of legislative relief in the form of a motor fuels tax floor indexed to February 20, 2013 (the date used for the statewide fuel tax floor implemented in July 2013), cannot be overstated.

 

  • Reduced federal formula funds: PRTC received on average $4.2 million per year of formula funding under the federal transportation program (SAFETEA-LU, 2009–2012). Under the last program (MAP21, 2013–2015), PRTC’s annual formula funding averaged $2.7 million—an annual loss of $1.5 million. The just-enacted FAST Act further drops formula funding by another $50,000.

 

What Are The Possible Solutions?

There isn't a singular solution to PRTC's budget deficit.  One first step to a solution was the introduction of Senate Bill 742 in the Vriginia General Assembly which would have placed a floor on the area’s 2.1% motor fuels tax ensuring that the tax was not imposed on a sales price less than the statewide average sales price on February 20, 2013. That’s the same date that was used as a floor for the statewide motor vehicle fuels sales tax. The bill would have simply treated the tax in our transportation district with the same standards that the Commonwealth established for itself. Senate Bill 742 was approved by the Virginia Senate in February 2016, but unfortunately a subcommittee in the House of Delegates decided to table all discussion of the bill until 2017. Please contact your State Legislators and request that they support adding a floor to the motor fuels tax in 2017! Find contact information for your Legislator here

In addition, local officials must make a strategic effort to seek and establish a dedicated , sustainable local funding source.

 

What Measures Will PRTC Take to Reduce TheFY 2017 Budget Defecit?

 

Since 2009, PRTC has implemented cost-saving service reductions amounting to 9% of its scheduled bus services and increased fares by nearly 30%. The FY 2017 proposed budget calls for a 5% average annual fare increase starting in July 2016 along with service cuts that will impact all routes and affect an estimated 125,000 annual passengers. Here is a list of the proposed service reductions and fare increases.

 

What Happens if PRTC Doesn't Get Adequate Funding?

 

If adequate funding isn't available, PRTC will have to make additional cuts to its service. See this list      for potential cuts.

 

 

How Can You Help?

 

You can help by:

  • Speaking during Citizens’ Time at Prince William County Board of Supervisor’s meetings, Manassas and Manassas Park meetings or sending and emailing comments to your elected officials.  Meeting dates and times for the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors and the Manassas and Manassas Park City Council Meetings and the email addresses for local elected officials can be found here.
  • Telling your Senator/Delegate to support a motor fuels tax floor. Find yours here:  http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
  • Telling your family, friends, and others in the community that local transit needs their help and support!

 

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