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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Connecticut proposes fare hikes for Metro-North, Shore Line East services to address budget shortfall


On July 15, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a budget-balancing plan designed to address a $1.6 billion shortfall in fiscal-year 2012. Included in the plan: a proposed 15 percent fare hike for the Connecticut portion of MTA Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line, as well as a 14 percent fare increase and weekend service elimination on Shore Line East.

“The proposed fare increase was among numerous budget options released last week by the governor's office following the rejection of a state employee concessions deal by state employee unions,” Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Judd Everhart said in a July 20 e-mail. “At this moment, the state employee unions are considering a new vote on the concessions package and, if approved, many of the proposals — including the 15 percent fare increase — would likely ‘go away.’”

However, if the state employee union doesn’t approve the new concessions package, the fare increases would take effect Nov. 1. That concerns officials at the CT Metro-North Commuter Council.

“These fare hikes are unjustified,” said council Chairman Jim Cameron in a prepared statement. “Commuters are tired of being a convenient target for tax increases because we have no alternative to taking the train.”

Under recent legislation, the only way the governor’s proposal could be blocked is if state House and Senate leaders called for public hearings. The commuter-rail council has requested that the House speaker and Senate president conduct such hearings.

Angela Cotey

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/21/2011