Today, UTA’s Interim President/CEO Jerry Benson presented a Tentative 2016 Budget to the UTA Board of Trustees’ Planning & Development Committee. The proposed budget focuses on maintaining new service and low fares, creating operational efficiencies and maintaining a state of good repair.

Many items in the Tentative 2016 Budget focus on enhancing service and improving rider resources. The budget includes an increase of bus service hours by 5 percent, rail service by almost 4.5 percent and paratransit by 5.5 percent, which reflect the additional service implemented last August. The budget also includes the Provo-Orem bus rapid transit project, positive train control safety features, and bus and rail maintenance, as well as rider-focused technology initiatives like upgraded Wi-Fi service on FrontRunner and mobile ticketing solutions.

Also in the Tentative Budget is a recommendation to extend the FAREPAY bus and rail fare discount through 2016. Currently, riders who pay with their FAREPAY electronic fare card receive a 40 percent discount on bus fare and up to 20 percent off rail fare.

The Board of Trustees has expressed its commitment to focus on adding and improving service and earning and maintaining the trust of our riders and the community. As part of this process, the board completed a comprehensive review of employee compensation last March and made meaningful changes. In support of these objectives, the UTA executive team announced a decision to decline their performance incentive pay for 2015 and 2016 goal achievement and direct those resources to service and operations.

Under UTA’s performance incentive program, administrative employees who exceed job expectations can earn up to 4 percent of their base salary with a maximum amount of $7,500.

UTA Board of Trustees Chair H. David Burton thanked the team for their teamwork and integrity.

“I, for one, applaud the decision,” he said.

The Tentative 2016 Budget is created based on public input and guided by UTA’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which focuses on increasing ridership, improving service, reducing customer trip time and creating solutions to help riders conveniently reach homes, schools and workplaces from the nearest bus or rail stop. The full board will review and adopt the tentative 2016 budget in its regular meeting on October 28. UTA will then gather public feedback on the budget through the end of November. Public comments will be reviewed before the board adopts a final 2016 budget in December.