Metra sets open house meetings on budget, long-term plans
Sun-Times Media October 17, 2012 12:54PM
Commuters disembark a Metra train at the Route 59 train station on Friday, June 3, 2010. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Kane County — Nov. 1, 4-7 p.m., at the Kane County Government Center, Building A, 1st Floor Auditorium, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva
DuPage County — Nov. 7, 4-7 p.m., at Wheaton City Hall, council chambers, 303 W. Wesley St., Wheaton
Will County — Nov. 8, 4-7 p.m., at New Lenox Village Hall, council chambers, 1 Veterans Parkway, New Lenox
Updated: October 17, 2012 7:40PM
Metra will have open house meetings across the region next month to outline its budget for 2013 and to get input on its long-term strategic plan.
In unveiling its $713.5 million budget, Metra officials said ticket fares won’t go up next year unless the economy takes a dive.
A bad economy would mean sales tax and revenue money would be down and “could cause a fare action in 2013 to maintain service levels and cash levels,” said Lynette Ciavarella, Metra’s capital planning director.
Metra could net $3 million for its capital program by hiking the price of 10-ride and monthly tickets by 1 percent or more, the agency said.
Next year’s budget is 3.9 percent higher than the 2012 budget. Of the total, $310.2 million of operating funding will come from fares.
According to Metra, more than 200 people attended the first round of long-term planning meetings held in July throughout the area and another 3,300 commented online.
Those meetings mostly sought commuters’ comments on big picture ideas for the rail service, asking people to prioritize items like safety, reliability of service, and “facilitating economic vitality” to Chicago and the suburbs.
But the meetings also gave local elected officials the opportunity to advocate for their projects — including an extension of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe commuter rail line from Aurora to Oswego.
Information is available at www.metrarail.com/strategicplan.