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CTA Passes Budget Without Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

File photo of a Blue Line train.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

File photo of a Blue Line train. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) - The Chicago Transit Authority passed a new budget plan Wednesday that will not hike fares, nor cut service levels.

But the $1.337 billion budget also called for nearly $54 million in “management efficiencies,” which were previously specified to include cuts to more than 70 staff positions.

The budget plan is $66.7 million bigger larger than last year’s, in part because of contractually-required union wage increases, and pension and health insurance obligations.

The cuts will help offset the increases, the CTA said.

Previously, the CTA said some open positions would not be filled, overtime would be more tightly controlled, and non-union CTA workers would not get a raise in 2011 and would have to take up to 18 unpaid furlough days.

The staff positions that will be cut do not include any train or bus operators, but do include some management and office positions, the CTA said previously.

The budget also includes a new $599.5 million capital improvement plan, which includes $285 promised by the State of Illinois. These funds will be used to upgrade buses, renovate bus garages and ‘L’ stops, upgrade substations and replace lengths of ‘L’ train track to eliminate slow zones, the CTA said.