Public Transportation RTD Light Rail Tram in Downtown Denver Colorado

The Regional Transportation District needs to close a $40 million deficit in its 2020 budget, but light rail and bus service will be untouched.

CPR reports that the cause of the shortfall is $14.8 million less in fare collections than anticipated, plus $25.2 million less in sales tax revenue.

“I think our services go beyond what we can afford easily. Which is sad to me because we all want to give greater services,” said Director Judy Lubow, District I.

The board has been allocating millions of dollars to help finish commuter rail projects as part of the FasTracks project. A University of Colorado economist also told directors in October that a slowdown in the national economy would mean a tapering off of revenues for the agency.

So far, RTD has identified $200,000 in cuts to the board of directors’ budget, including charging the members for pre-meeting snacks. The $44 million capital budget will see some projects delayed.

RTD’s budget shortfall comes amid another, unrelated problem of too few workers. The agency is looking at temporary cuts to light rail and bus service to prevent further mandating six-day-a-week work schedules to existing employees.

The operator shortage also has resulted in dropped runs — but not to the commuter rail lines, which operate under a separate agreement.

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