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The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has begun a series of public hearings this month through March 5 to solicit public input on its proposed 4 percent fare increase.The VRE also plans to increase Amtrak Step-Up tickets by $2. Railway officials have cited the costs of track access, the implementation of positive train control and a decrease in state funding as reasons for the increase. If adopted, the proposed fares will take effect the first week in July.The first public hearing occurred yesterday. Written feedback will be accepted through March 6.The commuter-rail service provides service from Fredericksburg, Va., in the south to Union Station in Washington, D.C.