VIA Metropolitan Transit Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget Tuesday. The new total consolidated budget of $389.9 million requires no fare increases and focuses on ridership recovery and growth, including Keep SA Moving Plan investments.
The FY22 operating budget is $259.4 million. It takes into account a revenue from sales tax revenue increase of 4% in FY22 and the City of San Antonio’s renewed partnership contribution of $10 million.
The budget provides for up to eight new VIA Link mobility-on-demand (MOD) zones; continued COVID-19 protection protocols, and a rebalanced system plan to meet current and projected ridership demands. Reduced wait times and expanded schedules are covered in the FY22 budget but planned investments in better frequency and extended service hours are delayed by a nationwide transit labor shortage that is also impacting San Antonio.
“This budget helps position VIA programs and services as key to social and economic recovery for our community, after a long year of challenges,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “And it supports the voter-approved Keep SA Moving plan, ensuring VIA riders can stay connected to opportunities for work, school, health and family with improved experiences for our customers.”
In addition to the Operating Budget, VIA trustees approved a $130.5 million Capital Spending Budget and a five-year $586.8 million Capital Spending Plan which supports the purchase of 15 new VIAtrans paratransit vehicles and the completion of its 139-van fleet replacement.
VIA’s administrative hiring freeze is lifted under the new budget and other critical positions are restored. In addition, the approved budget funds improved service schedules and new “innovation zones,” areas where VIA can identify first/last-mile solutions to connect transit in densely urbanized areas, such as Brooks, Port SA, Medical Center, and Downtown.