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Metra's proposed 2012 budget includes 25 percent fare hike


On Friday, Metra’s board unveiled a preliminary 2012 budget of $686.6 million that calls for an average fare increase of 25 percent across all fare types. The budget also includes a $244 million capital program.

The board now is accepting public comments on the budget and is slated to vote on the final spending plan Nov. 11.

For several months, Metra officials warned that the agency faced a significant budget deficit next year as a result of several factors, including rising diesel fuel prices, insurance premiums and other costs, as well as federal regulations. In addition, proceeds from a regional transportation sales tax fell short of expectations “due to a faltering economy,” Metra officials said in a prepared statement.

“Metra was able to reduce the deficit by $17.5 million through a variety of steps, including locking in the price of 75 percent of its fuel needs, making administrative cuts and finding other operational efficiencies,” they said. “Those actions reduced the size of the needed increase by seven percentage points. However, there still is a projected budget gap of $53.6 million that will need to be covered by a fare increase.”

The fare proposal calls for an average increase of 15.7 percent for one-way tickets across all fare zones; 10-ride tickets would increase an average of 30 percent and monthly passes would increase an average of 29.4 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2011