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D.C. Metro Holds Public Hearing For Budget

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Outgoing Metro GM John Catoe takes questions from Prince George's County residents.
Elliott Francis
Outgoing Metro GM John Catoe takes questions from Prince George's County residents.

By Elliott Francis

Metro’s board of directors is searching for ways to close a $189 million budget gap. Board members are taking suggestions at a series of public hearings, but so far there are no clear solutions.

This third scheduled hearing held Monday attracted approximately 200 residents to a church in Lanham, Maryland. Board members want to know what options riders favor: raised fares, or reduced service.

Lots of bus riders here like Jennifer Eric don’t want their service cut.

"The bus is my lifeline and I think it’s time for Maryland, Virginia and D.C. to help pay their fair share for these services," she says.

According to a study commissioned by Metro, many bus riders are more dependent on public transportation than rail riders and could be disproportionately affected by a reduction in service.

"I don’t want my independence taken away from me," says Shawn O'Neil, who is blind and depends on the bus. "We deserve to have independence and to keep those two bus routes on our street."

The next public hearing take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Arlington County Board Room, in Arlington, Virginia.

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