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Metro Board To Decide On Controversial Budget

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Metro board members are primed to make their final decisions on closing the budget gap after holding six public hearings.
David Schultz
Metro board members are primed to make their final decisions on closing the budget gap after holding six public hearings.

By David Schultz

Of all the proposed reductions to Metrorail service, none would affect more riders than getting rid of eight-car trains during rush hour. It would save more than $2 million a year. But Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin says it's not worth it.

"I think that's a silly way to save money," he says. Benjamin represents Maryland on the board. He says trains are already running as frequently as possible.

"I really think the best thing that we can do is adjust the frequencies to what we can run reasonably," Benjamin says, "and add more capacity by having more eight-car trains."

Benjamin's colleague, Mortimer Downey, agrees. Downey represents the federal government. Downey is also opposed to a measure that would change Metrorail's weekend closing time from 3 a.m. to midnight.

"I'm not sure we can afford to keep it open all night or at three in the morning or whatever," he says. "But midnight may be a little on the early side."

The board's vote is scheduled for April 22, but Benjamin says it might be delayed to give board members more time to weigh the options.

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