Metro board delays vote on fare hikes

After hours of discussion Thursday, members of Metro’s board of directors put off voting on a transit fare increase for the next fiscal year but said they were determined to decide the issue by month’s end.

The members — meeting not as the board of directors but as the board’s finance committee — had been expected to vote on a proposed $1.76 billion operating budget for the fiscal year beginning in July. The spending plan, as submitted by General Manager Richard Sarles, would increase rail fares by an average of 3 percent and set the standard bus fare at $1.75, regardless of whether a ride pays with cash or a SmarTrip card.

Board members have come up with several other possible combinations of rail and bus fare increases. After discussing those options throughout the afternoon Thursday, while meeting as the finance committee, the group adjourned without voting.

Metro’s board chairman, Tom Downs, said members intend to decide the issue during their March 27 meeting.

After approving an operating budget for the next fiscal year, the board will begin debating the $1.14 billion capital improvement budget that Sarles had proposed.




Paul Duggan covers the Metro system and transportation issues for The Washington Post.
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