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Fare Game

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Delegate Korman suggests less of a need for fare increases if budget proposals are met

Maryland Flag Metro LogoThe Maryland General Assembly likely will fully fund Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s request for the operating budget, reducing the risk of untimely fare increases or service cuts, a local delegate said.

“I haven’t heard any pushback for the operating [budget],” said the delegate, Del. Marc Korman (D-16), who represents Montgomery County, on Tuesday.

Korman said Friday’s news that Gov. Larry Hogan said he supported the idea of a dedicated funding source added to his confidence. Wiedefeld in his 2017 plan requested all three jurisdictions find means to supply money on which Metro can sell debt each year. Wiedefeld left the decision of where to find the dedicated funding up to the jurisdictions.

“We spent a lot of time on it; on Friday, he [Hogan] agreed,” Korman said.

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Metro finance committee approves GM’s proposed operating budget

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WASHINGTON – The Metro Board of Directors Finance Committee approved the general manager’s proposed operating budget that includes service cuts and fare increases at a committee meeting Thursday, bringing it one step closer to board approval.

Board member Malcolm Augustine, who represents Prince George’s County, voted against the budget. He opposed the fare increases and called them “a bad business move” given that customer satisfaction fell in 2016 and continues to fall.

Metro last raised fares three years ago, in fiscal year 2015, Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said.

Board member Tom Bulger, who represents the District, said Metro needs to increase fares for the next year unless it can find another funding source.

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Metro board unanimously approves service cuts to Metro schedule

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors approved reducing Metro hours of service for one year to provide more time for repairs and maintenance Thursday.

Board member Michael Goldman said General Manager Paul Wiedefeld will determine whether he wants to extend the plan to a total of two years after one year with the new schedule.

“Optically, it’s easier for the District (board members) to swallow,” Goldman said.

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You Speak Up!

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Bulger expresses concerns for suit against Metro over proposed service cuts

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As the Metro board prepares to vote on a proposed service cut that could adversely change the experience on Metro for thousands of riders, a board committee member questions Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s analysis of equity in the proposal.

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Metro Chief urges riders to show understanding

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Metro fireA fire in a Metro tunnel earlier this year. FILE PHOTO  

WASHINGTON – Citing several Metro tragedies, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld urged sports fans Thursday who opposed service cuts to give him a break.

Dozens of Metro riders took the opportunity Thursday to testify against the general manager’s proposal to permanently cut late evening service hours to allow for more maintenance, inspections and repairs. Some riders spoke out about the proposal prior to the public hearing.

Washington Nationals fans complained, chanting, “Metro sucks!” about finding alternate transportation when Metro closed before the end of a playoff a couple of weeks ago.

 Wiedefeld advised sports fans opposing the eight hours of service cuts to think about the worst safety incidents in Metro that stemmed from maintenance issues in the last few years.

“I think they have to understand that – just look back at the recent history of the agency and the tragedies that we’ve had,” Wiedefeld said, referencing the deadly L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident last year. “That’s what’s happening in my mind.”

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WMATA tables proposal

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100 dollar billsWASHINGTON – Metro officials tabled proposed fare increases and service cuts last week after more than a dozen people complained the proposal would jeopardize local businesses and economic growth.

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