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Agency Watch

Today, Metro Talks Cuts. Tomorrow, Metrolink Talks Hikes

union_station_littlehand.jpg

The next two days will see two different board meetings, by two different local transit agencies, dealing with the same budget crunch almost every transit agency across the country is facing.

At 9:30 this morning, the Metro Board will vote on whether or not to cut over 200,000 hours of service to its Class 1 bus fleet ending a nearly half-year public process. Before voting on the cuts, the Board will be presented with the changes to the original proposal voted on by the Sector Councils and the information Mayor Villaraigosa requested concerning to crime and poverty in the areas that will be losing service. Streetsblog has written a lot about the proposed service sector cuts over the last couple of months, and those articles can be found by clicking here.

Service "adjustments" aren't the only news making item on the agenda. With the Feuer bills moving in Sacramento, it's time for Metro to prepare for the November elections. Board Chair Pam O'Conner has authored a motion asking staff to research how to place a half cent gas tax, dedicated to transportation, on the November ballot and a list of projects that could be funded by such a fee.

The Metro Board will also decide whether or not to oppose efforts to create an independent construction authority for the Green Line and what to do with the Mayor's proposal to examine the potential to bring more public-private partnerships to build and expand Metro's rail network.

The Metrolink Board will meet tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. in the SCAG building downtown for their monthly Board meeting and the first item of business on their agenda is a public hearing on Metrolink's plan to increase fares again this year. Metrolink's specific proposal, found on page 5 of the 109 page agenda, is to :

Approve an increase of 2.0% in system-wide average fares in addition to the previously approved fare adjustment of 3.5% (for a total of 5.5%) that would take effect on July 1, 2008 to keep pace with higher costs to operate commuter train service.

Approve an increase in the discounted fare for the Group Travel program, from $7.00 to $10.00 for a round trip ticket with an increase in the minimum number in the group from 10 to 15 beginning July 1, 2008, index future increases to systemwide fare change proposals and implement increases when they reach $1.00 increments.

Unlike Metro, Metrolink can hold a hearing and approve a fare increase in one meeting.  Like Metro, they seem to be studiously avoiding blaming the fare increases and service cuts on the recent lack of support from the state government after the Schwarzenegger raid on transportation funds from last summer.

Photo: Mr. Littlehand/Flickr

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