The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), US, has presented a budget of $787.6m for fiscal 2010 to the board of directors of the Business Management Committee.

The budget includes $399.1m for the net transit operating budget and $388.5m for the capital budget, which includes $134m for debt service.

As MARTA is facing a budget deficit, agency officials have come up with internal and external recommendations.

External recommendations include a 25% base fare hike, a three-year adjustment in pass prices, commitment to implement variable-based fares by 2012, adjusting rail service headway and hours of service, and a $1 parking fee hike at nine lots.

Internal cost-saving recommendations include elimination of annual merit increase, an increase in medical benefit contributions and implementation of up to a ten-day furlough for all non-represented employees.

A public hearing process on the budget proposal is pending for June 2009 and will be finally presented to MARTA’s full board of directors on 22 June.