The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), California, US has planned a $3.9bn budget for the financial year 2009–10, effective 1 July 2009.

The spending plan is half a billion dollars or just under 15% more than the current Metro budget, due to an increase in highway and transit building projects such as the construction of a 10-mile long northbound carpool lane on the I-405 freeway from the 10 to 101 freeways.

Metro will invest $636m in new programmes in the financial year 2009–10, funded largely with federal stimulus funds and the new Measure R transit sales tax that will be collected from July.

The budget will begin operations of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension to East Los Angeles, continue construction of the Expo light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City and advance various planning studies for new transit projects throughout Los Angeles County.

For the next five years, Metro will provide seniors, students, the disabled and Medicare recipients with current fare rates, despite the drop in revenue.

The decision comes despite California lawmakers completely cutting off the agency from state transit assistance, which in recent years has provided about $100m per year for the operating budget.

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