Lipinski Responds to Metra's Service Cut and Fare Hike Plan
LaGrange Suburban Life
August 11, 2011
Congressman Dan Lipinski, Dist. 3-Illinois, questioned Metra’s proposal to cut services while raising fares today, calling on the agency to explain its proposed changes by hosting public meetings in the affected communities.
Metra has stated it faces a budget deficit of $100 million due to diminishing sales tax revenues as well as rising fuel costs.
“I believe the agency needs to do more to inform the public about why it believes fare increases andor service cuts are necessary and how Metra came to its current service reduction proposal,” Lipinski said in a letter to Metra.
Weekday service cuts would have a major impact on Third District residents who utilize the BNSF, Rock Island District and Southwest lines. Under Metra’s current proposal, the BNSF and Rock Island District lines would each see four fewer trains per weekday, and the number of weekday riders impacted on the Rock Island line is far higher than the number on any other line.
In addition, Southwest service would see more trains cut than any other line in Metra’s system save one, and would entirely lose weekend service that Lipinski lobbied to establish more than two years ago.
However, the savings from the Southwest line service cuts would be very small, amounting to far less than one percent of Metra’s total deficit, according to Lipinski’s letter.
“While Metra has said its proposal would minimize the impact on its customers, there are large disparities in the number of riders that would be affected on different lines and in the number of trains eliminated on different lines,” Lipinski said. “Additional details and community meetings would help ensure that all options have been explored before any action is taken.”
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