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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) yesterday unveiled a proposed $1.44 billion budget for 2015 that would hold the line on base fares while increasing some transit services.The budget includes expanded rail service to meet growing ridership, which agency officials estimate would increase by more than 2 million rides in 2015. Additional rail service would include morning and evening rush-hour trips on the Red, Blue, Brown and Orange lines, CTA officials said in a press release.The budget also calls for continuing investments in programs aimed at rehabilitating or building more new rail stations, modernizing rail fleets, employing more technology and bringing infrastructure to a state of good repair. For the fourth consecutive year, the agency would not transfer capital funds to cover operating costs."After inheriting a $308 million deficit in 2011, we have presented four straight years of balanced budgets," said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "We've done so by taking a close look at every facet of our organization to determine what’s working well and what isn't. We've implemented many management reforms that have reduced waste and trimmed spending, while upholding service and fare levels for our customers and creating permanent jobs that better serve passengers."The CTA's total ridership is expected to grow to 522.5 million in 2015, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2014's expected total.
A public hearing on the budget will be held Nov. 17 at CTA headquarters.
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