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DRPA Board of Commissioners Approves $257.7 Million Budget for 2013
Total Expenditures and Debt Costs Down 6.3 Percent
The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) Board of Commissioners today approved a 2013 annual budget of $257.7 million.
Despite a nearly 70 percent jump in employee pension costs, the DRPA and PATCO were able to reduce total operating and debt service expenditures by $17.3 million or 6.3 percent.
"We have applied fiscal discipline to DRPA and PATCO operations and cut total expenditures by more than 6 percent,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman David F. Simon.
“We may not be able to control rising pension costs – a difficulty faced by local governments across the country – but by carefully managing debt service and containing the expenditures we do control, we have delivered a tight, responsible budget that should help preserve the current bridge toll and rail fare structures for the foreseeable future.”
In April 2012, for example, the DRPA paid down its debt by $95.7 million and cut debt service costs by about $2.5 million per month. In May, the DRPA completed an electricity reverse auction that yielded estimated annual savings of $1.3 million. Both initiatives are expected to benefit the DRPA well into 2013.
Two bond ratings agencies rewarded the DRPA in late November for improving its financial management. Standard & Poor’s revised its outlook for outstanding DRPA bonds from “stable” to “positive.” Moody’s changed its outlook from “negative” to “stable.”
The DRPA expects next year to collect approximately $329 million in revenue generated primarily from bridge tolls, rail fares, real estate rents and interest earned on cash reserves.
Expenses associated with bridge, ferry and other non-rail DRPA operations are anticipated to account for approximately $84.4 million of the operating budget, while PATCO is expected to spend about $46.6 million on operations.
The DRPA and PATCO expect to spend about $122.3 million in 2013 on debt service and other bond-related expenses, a decrease of $18.8 million or more than 13 percent.
The 2013 combined capital budgets for the DRPA and PATCO are projected to total approximately $119.3 million. The DRPA/PATCO five-year capital budget is expected to total approximately $746 million.
The DRPA is currently investing capital budget funds in the Walt Whitman Bridge re-decking project, an overhaul of PATCO’s 120 passenger-rail cars and numerous infrastructure upgrades to the Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry bridges.
The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency that connects millions of people and businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The DRPA owns and operates the PATCO commuter rail line and the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross toll bridges. The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry.
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