Metro board to consider fare plans
| Metro resolution on public hearings (large PDF) |
Metro riders often ask the transit authority's board to get them involved earlier when a fare increase or service cut is in the works. They don't want a public comment period over a take-it-or-leave-it proposal.
So the board this morning will consider a plan that gets the public in early before the board has narrowed its budget-balancing options to one or two possibilities. But this will get really complicated. The budget is still in the larval stage, and if the board today sends it out for public hearings, then the public will have these elements to consider:
-- A proposed fare increase and other revenue increases suggested in the general manager's budget proposal, plus changes to MetroAccess fares.
-- A proposed fare increase and other revenue increases big enough to avoid any service cuts.
-- A proposed fare increase and other revenue increases big enough to avoid service cuts, plus other revenue-raising ideas received by the transit authority staff.
-- The proposed service cuts for Metrorail included in the general manager's budget.
-- The proposed cuts for Metrobus included in the general manager's budget.
-- Proposed policy changes for the MetroAccess program.
Riders aren't being asked to say yes or no to a budget proposal. They're being asked to help create the proposal.
So fire up your budgeting software, and instead of recording your paychecks and dry-cleaning bills, see if you can help Metro find $127.8 million to keep the trains and buses running on their current schedules.
If all your mathematical energy is going into your tax preparations, then you could tell the board members this: What option do you want them to rely on most heavily? Is it service cuts or fare increases?
In the last couple of rounds, the riders have tended to favor fare increases over service cuts. But the recent fare increase proposals have been lower than the current ones. To avoid any service cuts this time, the Metrorail fares would rise 21 percent. The basic Metrobus fare would rise by 28 percent.
On Wednesday night, Metro's Riders' Advisory Council voted to send a letter to the jurisdictions that subsidize the trains and buses pleading for extra help this year. The Metro board today is likely to authorize its own letter to the jurisdictions noting that the budget hearings this spring will likely produce an outcry for help from riders.
March 4, 2010; 8:42 AM ET
Categories: Metro , Transportation Politics | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus, Metrorail
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