CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra’s Board of Directors agreed Metra will not raise the price of fares next year; however, board members addressed the need for more public aid and government funding, pointing to the system’s deterioration.
Metra says there will be a rapid deterioration if they do not get government funding in 2020, meaning Metra may be forced to cut entire lines. No decisions have been made at this time.
“We ask our passengers and our elected leaders to join with us to tell our story to members of the state Legislature,” said Metra Chairman Norm Carlson in a press release. “That story is very simple: Metra needs a sustained capital program to maintain its existing service levels in the 2020s. Otherwise, drastic changes in service levels may be needed to shrink to a size that existing resources can sustain.”
A CBS 2 investigation found 61 Metra bridges had a poor rating, which could mean crumbling concrete or peeling paint.
Metra said a budget gap of nearly $1.2 billion a year has the agency scrambling to prioritize repairs.
Metra Board members agreed that another fare increase for capital needs would “overburn Metra’s customers after four straight fare increases, while providing only a fraction of the revenue needed to address large capital shortfalls.”
Metra staff will spend next year educating riders, the public, and lawmakers about Metra’s need for sustained capital funding and detailing the consequences of falling short.