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Hearings on Metro cuts start Wednesday

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(KWMU photo)
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By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis – The St. Louis region's public transit authority is set to launch a major information campaign about possible cuts to the Metro system.

The public hearings that start Wednesday will give bus and MetroLink riders a chance to comment on the service reductions. All bus service west of Interstate 270 would be eliminated, MetroLink trains would run less frequently, and train service would stop at 8pm

Metro spokeswoman Dianne Williams said the cuts will take effect if St. Louis County voters don't approve a half-cent sales tax increase in November. The tax would raise $80 million.

"The system would be shrinking to the funds it has available, but it wouldn't be a great system for what this region has gotten accustomed to and what we think it needs," Williams said.

But Metro critics like Tom Sullivan aren't buying the "doomsday" scenario.

"In 2002, just a few months after Larry Salci became the CEO of Metro, he said something needs to be done real soon or else we're going to have to make reductions, cut back on service, etc, so this is a threat they've been using for a long time," Sullivan said.

Williams says Metro has already made internal cuts.

The tax increase was scheduled to be on the ballot in February. Metro officials pulled it after they lost a lawsuit over the recent MetroLink expansion.

The first hearing is Wednesday at the Neumann Center on the campus of Washington University. It starts at noon.

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