Today, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) released the following statement regarding the February 2023 Revenue estimates and their effect on the Fare-Free Bus Program.
“After my briefing on the revenue estimates yesterday (in which the CFO did not choose to mention fare free buses) the CFO released the revenue estimate which backs out the funding that the Council set aside for fare free buses,” Mendelson said. “I, together with Councilmember Allen, have asked the Council’s General Counsel and Budget Director to look at the legal basis for CFO’s actions in the revenue estimate.”
Councilmember Allen said, “I’m very concerned that the Chief Financial Officer seems to be decertifying funds it had only just certified two months ago to begin fare-free Metro bus service this summer. As with every other line item in our budget, it’s the Council’s job - not the CFO’s - to make policy decisions about how to spend our dollars. I’m also concerned with the CFO’s pattern of vastly underestimating District revenues – by more than $800 million in FY22 and so far, updating their anticipated assumptions for revenue by $128 million for this year. This has a very real impact on residents, workers, and businesses, especially the majority of bus riders who make less than $50,000 – here, it could mean a delay in riders having the fare-free and improved bus service that would have started this summer. Chairman Mendelson and I will work with our colleagues to make the tough choices necessary in the budget process to ensure safe streets and deliver on the District’s economic recovery. We need to do this this year.”
Contact: Erik Salmi