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NFTA budget planners are breathing a sigh of relief knowing their forecasts of a $4.5 million surplus for the 1992-93 fiscal year were right and will mean no fare increase next year.

Results of an independent audit released Tuesday indicated the transit agency ended the year with $4,592,000, slightly more than the amount needed to balance the 1993-94 budget, according to NFTA Executive Director Richard Swist.

"The favorable budget surplus is critical to the NFTA's financing plans for the current fiscal year," Swist said. "It is our intention to use any budget surplus as well as profits from the authority's property management division to fund Metro Bus and Rail before considering any type of fare increase."

Based on early surplus projections, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officials felt confident in crafting a 1993-94 budget that would be balanced by rolling over a prior year surplus of at least $4.5 million.

NFTA Chairman Robert D. Gioia said several of the agency's operations contributed to the surplus, with higher-than-expected state mortgage recording taxes leading the pack. Those revenues for the fiscal year that ended March 31 totaled some $2 million above a budgeted $4.4 million.

Other factors included higher than expected revenues at Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports.

Gioia also credited internal belt-tightening he portrayed as "continuing efforts of the NFTA to improve the profitability of its various business centers through tight expense controls and strong efforts to increase revenues."

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