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Public Hearing Information

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Proposed Fares are Listed Below:


FY2014 Proposed Fare Increase

The process to develop the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 began back in June of 2012, a full 13 months prior to the effective start date of July 1, 2013. The VRE Operations Board approved a set of guidelines to make sure that the budget accomplished specific goals. Those guidelines included:

  1. Sustain Current Level Of Service and evaluate capacity enhancements
  2. Evaluate Increases/Decreases to Jurisdictional Subsidies
  3. Evaluate Increases/Decreases to Fares
  4. Prioritize Capital Improvements to ensure equipment and facilities are adequately maintained
  5. Continue fuel hedging strategies
  6. Maintain working capital at no less than 2 months of operating costs
  7. Evaluate debt levels - issue debt vs. pay as you go

VRE Staff then developed a budget based on those guidelines and presented it to the Operations Board in September, 2012. The budget was then forwarded to the commissions (PRTC and NVTC) which gave approval to forward the budget to all of the local jurisdictions that make up VRE.

In October, 2012, the local jurisdictions, represented by the CAO Task Force, a group of financial representatives from each jurisdiction, worked with VRE Staff providing feedback and recommendations for the budget. The final proposed budget, including the CAO Task Force recommendations was then presented to the VRE Operations Board in December, 2012.

The final proposed budget included the following:

  • Estimates average daily ridership of 20,100
  • Maintains current 32 trains (30 revenue)
    • Additional 10-car Fredericksburg line train deferred until FY 2015 (July 1, 2014)
  • Recommends 4% fare increase
  • Maintains level jurisdictional subsidy of $16.4M
  • Spotsylvania station opens January 2014
  • Funds high priority capital improvements, such as positive train control and new railcars

The budget was then submitted to the commissions for approval by the local jurisdictions in January, 2013, 7 months after the process began.

Because the proposed budget includes a fare increase, VRE has begun a period to allow for public comment through the mail, online, and through a series of public hearings giving riders or any other interested parties the ability to voice their opinion before the proposed budget is adopted.

One of the questions that we have received through the public comments is "Why is there a need for a 4% fare increase, when economic conditions are already straining the riders' resources?"

The primary reason is because that VRE faces contractual cost increases based on either fixed escalation rates or indexed rates based on CPI adjustments. For example, the Norfolk Southern and CSX access agreements each have a fixed 4% escalator. Amtrak access fees include an indexed escalator estimated back in 2012 to be 5%. The Keolis contract has an indexed escalator that was estimated at just over 2%. Combine those contractual obligations with other variable increases in insurance rates and the price of fuel, along with the increased expenses associated with recent capacity improvements by adding a car on each line, and there is a budget shortfall. To close that gap, the proposal includes a 4% fare increase.

The budget process is very long and requires estimates to be made in many areas of the operation a full year before the budget is scheduled to take effect.

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