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January 28, 2010

D.C. Metro chooses fare increase, not service cuts

Facing a serious shortfall of revenue midway through its fiscal year, the Washington Metro board decided today to reject proposed cuts to rail and bus service and instead impose a 10-cent, across-the-board fare increase.

In addition, the board directed  the staff to  make  an additional $6 billion in "non-operational" cuts. It also OK'd the use of $10 million in stimulus funds -- which had originally been directed to capital projects that later came in under budget  -- for operations.

 The board's action appeared to track the sentiment of riders who appeared at a public hearing Wednesday night, where calls for protection from service cutbacks outweighed opposition to increases in fares. Among the proposed service cutbacks on the table were a  decrease in late-night Metrorail service, a reduction in the number of eight-car trains at peak times and the  elimination of  some bus routes

In another action, the board elected Maryland's Peter Benjamin to serve as Metro chairman for the next year. In that capacity, Benjamin will presumably lead the search for a new general manager to replace John Catoe, who resigned early this month.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:44 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: WMATA/D.C. Metro
        

Comments

Michael:

The WMATA board didn't approve borrowing $6 million from capital funds to close the $40 million deficit for FY10. Instead they directed WMATA management to make $6 million in "non-operational" cuts.

They did approve using $10 million in "Stimulus Funds" that were originally to be used for capital projects, but when those projects came in under budget--the $10 million was used toward the $40 million deficit.

Wow, a whole ten cent fare increase, my heart bleeds for Metro's riders. I can just see the number of personal bankruptcies in Metro's service area multiplying.....

That still leaves highway users footing the bill for most of the cost of your ride.

Instead of complaining about motorists and truckers, perhaps Metro's riders sholud get down on their knees and thank the highway users for their (forced) generosity.

Alternately, highway users should get on their knees and thank us Metro riders for not clogging the already clogged roads with another few hundred thousand vehicles. But that's just me....

Here's my first expierence with the metro: http://www.editurl.com/9yx

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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