(KCPW News) The Utah Transit Authority will need to make an additional $3 million in cuts next year to make up for lost sales tax revenue. This will include more service cuts and possibly eliminating executive bonuses. However, UTA Spokesman Gerry Carpenter says it could have been worse.
“If you compare us to a lot of the transit agencies around the nation that are having significant layoffs and heavy service cuts, we are really in a good position, because we realized early that we were going to have to cut back and took steps early on,” Carpenter says.
In 2009, UTA slashed spending by about $20 million. And early projections for 2010 have been adjusted downward twice, first by more than $6 million in October and then again on Wednesday, when the board adopted the 2010 budget. The state’s economy is expected to start to rebound in 2010. However, Carpenter says the agency is still facing a deficit because of expected increases to health care costs and fuel.
In addition to service cuts, Carpenter says UTA will implement a soft hiring freeze and make salary adjustments, including possibly eliminating executive bonuses.
“We’ve already cut it in half and it’s on the table for even more cuts, that particular incentive pool,” Carpenter says. “It’s possible it’s going to be eliminated altogether. But that hasn’t been decided yet.”
Carpenter says service cuts are possible, but will be made to routes that typically have low ridership and during off-peak hours to minimize the impact. This news comes less than a week after UTA changed its weekend service as a cost-saving measure, with more route changes scheduled for early January.