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CT RAIL COMMUTER COUNCIL ASKS…“WHERE’S THE MONEY FROM THE FARE HIKE?”

A review of Governor Malloy’s proposed FY 2013 budget finds that, while an additional $9.27 million will be raised by the January 1st 2012 fare increase, $9.8 million less will be spent on rail operations than last year.

“Commuters were told that the railroad needed more money,” says CT Rail Commuter Council Chairman Jim Cameron. “So why then did the fare increase revenue just offset earlier subsidies and not get spent on the trains?”

According to the Governor’s budget, the increased fare revenue will end up in the Special Transportation Fund which is used to, among other things, to rebuild roads and bridges.

“Everyone in Hartford knows that The Special Transportation fund isn’t a ‘lock-box’, it’s a sieve, regularly ‘dipped into’ to fund non-transportation projects or to balance the budget. The Governor’s proposed CDOT budget calls for $30 million in town aid grants for road repaving,” says Cameron. “And it looks like $9.8 million of that is coming from rail fares. How does the Governor argue for a Metro-North fare hike that doesn’t get spent on improving service?”

The CT Rail Commuter Council is backing State Representative Gail Lavielle’s (R-Wilton) proposed bill HB 5067 which would require increased revenues from rail fares to be spent on the trains. That bill has yet to be heard by The Transportation Committee.

“We are urging concerned commuters to contact their State Representatives and Senators and ask that HB 5067 be heard and that rail fares stay where they belong… being spent to improve rail service,” says Cameron.