South Suburban Mayors Sign Letter Protesting Proposed Metra Cuts
Trib Local Orland Park
September 15, 2011
By Jeff Vorva
Twenty-two elected officials, including several mayors in the south suburbs, signed a letter sent to Metra protesting a proposal to cut Saturday service and reduce weekday service on area lines.
The letter to Metra CEO Alexander Clifford and written by Congressman Dan Lipinski said, “We write to express our strong opposition to the service reductions proposed during the agency’s July and August Board meetings. These measures would yield very few savings in the context of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget shortfall and would likely disenfranchise many riders. Therefore, we strongly urge Metra to reconsider the proposed (Southwest Service) cuts and continue to work with us to ensure an adequate level of service along the line.”
During an August meeting, Metra told board members it faced a $100 million deficit and came up with a list of proposals to save money, including the elimination of Saturday service in the southwest. Trains on the Southwest line currently do not run on Sundays. Another proposal would wipe out weekeday service between 179th Street and Manhattan on two trains.
The board of directors for Metra next meet Friday. Village of Orland Park Trustee Brad O’Halloran, who is also on the Metra board, hopes the letter has some influence.
“The congressmen and the other mayors affected by this make it clear that there is a lot of support to keep the service,” O’Halloran said. “I’m certainly going to fight that to make sure it stays in that direction.”
O’Halloran said after August’s meeting that the savings would result in less than $1 million a year. He said he would “vociferously” fight for keeping the services status quo. “I’m one vote, but I will be heard. That’s the best way to put it.” he said.
Area mayors who signed the letter to Metra include Dan McLaughlin (Orland Park), James Daley (Homer Glen), Kyle Hastings (Orland Hills), William Borgo (Manhattan), Tim Baldermann (New Lenox), Robert Straz (Palos Heights), Gerald Bennett (Palos Hills), John Mahoney (Palos Park) and Edward Zabrocki (Tinley Park).
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