Metro approves $2.5 billion budget

Metro's board of directors passed a $2.5 billion budget Thursday for fiscal year 2013, which will improve reliability for the rail service during rush hour. Hatchet File Photo

Metro’s multi-billion dollar budget was approved Thursday, which will be devoted to improving the system’s safety and reliability and continuing  track and station maintenance.

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority’s board of directors approved the $2.5 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2013, the same as last year’s budget.

Metro’s operating budget, at about $1.6 billion, will expand bus services, increase the number of  police guards at Metro stops, improve escalator function and prepare for the the new Silver Line, expected to be operational in 2013.

Part of the spending will go toward increasing rush hour rail service on Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green lines starting June 18.

The Board also approved the $5.7 billion Capital Improvement Plan – a six-year project that includes replacing Metro’s oldest rail cars, replacing 88 escalators at various stations like the ones completed in December at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, rail circuit renovations and a new electronic payment program with a touch-less Smartcards.

The  budget will go into effect July 1, the same day Metro riders will face the fare hikes voted on last month.

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