Now: Metro Board to Consider Cuts vs. Fare Increase
The full Metro Board of Directors today will consider two proposals to send to the public for review at hearings. One offers people the alternative of bus service cuts or a 5 cent fare increase. The other would allow people to review only the bus cuts, as described in the previous entry.
This menu of choices is the result of a vote just now in the board's finance committee. The idea arose because some members said they had heard from riders who said they would be willing to consider a fare increase rather than endure the service cuts. The strongest opposition to the fare increase idea is coming from the District of Columbia.
Even if the full board decides to ask the public to consider the fare increase versus service cut idea, it still will be up to the board to decide the matter before July 1. A 5 cent fare increase probably would raise $15 million to $17 million.
Another option the board considered, but so far has rejected, is the idea of taking some money from its capital budget, the money for maintenance and purchase of new rail cars and buses, among other things -- and using that to close the budget gap without service cuts.
That's a bad idea: It would simply push the transit system's financial problems into next year. Also, as board member Chris Zimmerman just pointed out, does anyone thing Metro is spending enough on maintenance now?
March 26, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
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