Fawcett says ‘no’ to Metro-North fare hikes

State Rep. Kim Fawcett, candidate for state Senate District 28, joins Gov. Dannel Malloy and other local officials in opposing a budget proposal outlining the potential for Metro-North Railroad fare increases in 2015.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently submitted a financial plan to the Connecticut Department of Transportation citing a 57% jump in costs to run Metro-North’s New Haven Line in 2014 due to anticipated retroactive wage increases and expenditures for safety improvements. The plan indicates that fare increases will likely be necessary in 2015 to cover the additional costs.

“It is absolutely outrageous that Metro-North may ask for yet another fare increase,” Fawcett said. “Fares have risen significantly in each of the last three years, even as commuters from our region continue to endure glaring rail failures on a regular basis. These problems cause immeasurable stress, forcing people to arrive at work late, to miss appointments and to lose time with their families. This is unacceptable.”

Fawcett added that the Connecticut General Assembly’s 2014 bond authorization bill includes $14 million in emergency funding specifically for safety upgrades for Metro-North.

Fawcett recently participated in a conference call with Jim Cameron, a member of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council and longtime commuter advocate, and other legislators to discuss the MTA’s proposal. One of the issues discussed was the need for Fairfield County legislators on both sides of the aisle to come together to form a Transportation Investment Caucus in the state legislature in 2015.

“Forming a caucus would organize lawmakers’ voices into a block and elevate their influence on this key issue for our region,” Fawcett said.

Fawcett emphasized the importance of developing a long-term plan for upgrading the railroad infrastructure with the goal of delivering an efficient, modern rail system.

“We have to invest in these improvements strategically and incrementally, and not solely on the backs of commuters,” she said.

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