Metro's expenses are expected to increase by $90 million next year. And despite a growing ridership, revenue is projected to drop by $40 million because of falling advertising.
Metro board member and D.C. Councilman Jim Graham says he wasn't surprised by the sobering forecast. One big reason for the rise in spending is Metro's para-transit service for disabled riders. MetroAccess passenger trips have increased eight-fold over the last ten years and the agency is required to pick up most of the tab.
Graham says he wants to work with the disabled community and see if the program can be adjusted. But he says climbing out of this budget gap will probably require sacrifices from everyone and says a fare increase may be necessary.
Metro Board members say they want to hold town hall meetings in their jurisdictions to talk about the budget and any potential fare increases.
Patrick Madden reports...