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Metra approves 2008 spending plan, fare increase

The Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra) board recently approved a 2008 budget that includes a 10 percent fare increase to help offset a $40 million budget shortfall.

The $589 million operating budget calls for eliminating 100 administrative positions and freezing wages for all non-union employees, as well as reductions in equipment and station cleaning, marketing programs and other administrative areas.

The budget also includes $158 million in capital funds — a figure that won’t support Metra’s necessary rail-car purchases, station projects or infrastructure improvements.

Board members also had considered a budget that called for increasing fares 5 percent and eliminating Sunday service.

The budget now will be considered by Metra parent agency the Regional Transportation Authority.

Metra officials are hoping the state legislature soon approves a long-term transit funding package. If they do, the agency will revise its 2008 budget to reflect the additional dollars.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/27/2007