Mayor Restores Metro Cuts, Pledges No Fare Increase
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 3:24am
Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced today that his 2008 executive budget would call for no service cuts or fare increases for the Madison Metro bus system. This is the third year in a row that Metro riders will enjoy the same fares. The Mayor noted, however, that this commitment is based upon passage of a state budget that includes the Senate Democratic positions related to levy limits and Payments for Municipal Services. Adoption of the Assembly Republican positions on those items would require the city to cut its budget by $15 million.
"In spite of record increases in fuel costs for our buses, we've been working hard to find ways to keep fares at reasonable levels," Cieslewicz said. "At a time when those same high gas prices are hitting family budgets hard, it's more important than ever to keep bus service at an affordable price so that working families have an alternative to get to their jobs and to school. In part because we've been working to keep fares down, we're at a 20-year high for Metro ridership.
"Keeping Metro strong and affordable is also important as we fight global climate change," the Mayor said. Cieslewicz announced earlier this year a City commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 tons in five years and he sees transportation alternatives as a key element in reaching that goal.
In August, Metro submitted a budget proposal in response to the Mayor's request for a 3% budget reduction. That proposal included a Sunday service reduction and a standard full fare increase to $2 from the current $1.50. Cieslewicz said that after almost six weeks work on his budget, he has found the resources to be able to reject both the service cuts and the fare increases while also addressing the public safety needs that have been the top item on the City's agenda. Metro's budget is comprised of a combination of local, state and federal funding, plus revenue from fares and advertising.
The Mayor has another week to put the finishing touches on his budget which he will introduce to the Common Council on October 2nd.
- George Twigg, (608) 266-4611