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Metro riders blast potential service cuts

(KWMU photo)

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis – None of the early speakers at the first of 15 public hearings were happy with the drastic proposal. Metro faces a $46 million deficit in 2010. Without additional money, the agency will be forced to make service cuts that could leave 40 percent of the St. Louis region without access to mass transit.

Another solution on the table is a half-cent increase in the St. Louis county sales tax, which would generate $40 million for Metro's operations.

Most of the speakers at the hearing cannot vote on the proposal because they live in the city. Longtime Metro critic Tom Sullivan can, and plans to vote no, because Metro already receives plenty of money.

"And in 2006 they claimed they were going to have a 28 million dollar deficit the following year, and it turned out they had a 9 million dollar surplus," Sullivan said. "So here you have an agency that's 37 million dollars off, and now they're coming back and saying oh, we're going to have a 45 million dollar deficit coming up, so how can you really believe them when they've been so wrong in the past?"

Metro officials said say they closed past deficits by increasing fares, freezing wages, and making other internal cuts. They don't want service cuts, but said they will have no other choice without extra revenue.


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