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Rail News: Financials

Metra approves 2012 budget, fare increases


Metra’s board recently approved a $686.8 million operations budget for 2012, which includes an overall average fare increase of 25 percent across all ticket prices.

Starting Feb. 1, one-way tickets will rise an average of 15.7 percent across all fare zones, 10-ride tickets will jump an average of 30 percent and monthly passes will climb 29.4 percent, Metra officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, reduced fare tickets also will increase an average of 10.3 percent for one-way tickets, 18.9 percent for reduced 10-ride tickets and 10.8 percent for reduced monthly fare passes.

The fare hikes will help the agency cover a $53.6 million budget deficit caused by a spike in fuel prices, the cost of new federal regulations, higher insurance premiums and other costs, as well as a drop in regional transportation sales tax proceeds as a result of a faltering economy, Metra officials said.

Also, the board voted to stop diverting funds from Metra’s capital budget to make up for shortfalls in the operating budget. The board approved a $244 million capital program to support infrastructure needs.

Metra officials reduced the deficit by $17.5 million by locking in the price of 75 percent of fuel needs, cutting administrative costs and increasing operational efficiencies, agency officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/27/2011