Star Tribune photo: Glen Stubbe

Funding for Metro Transit could take a deep hit under budget proposals being drawn up by the State Legislature, and that's not setting well for those who rely on buses and light-rail trains to get around.

On Tuesday, transit advocates will hold a "No Cuts, No Hikes. Fund Transit Now" rally on the Green Line Capitol Station platform to express their concerns about plans they say would cut service by as much as 40 percent and likely bring a 25- to 50-cent fare increase. There also would be cuts to Metro Mobility, the door-to-door ride service for passengers with disabilities.

"We are in the fight for our transit lives," says a statement on Transportation Forward Minnesota's Facebook page. ".If you are transit dependent it is imperative that you join us in this effort to push back against this very mean spirited attempt to punish transit riders."

Earlier this year, the Met Council reported that Met Council transportation funding faces a $74 million deficit over the next two year budgetary period to keep pace and operate on its current level. A leaner budget could be devastating, says Transit for Livable Communities, one of the groups organizing Tuesday's rally from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at University Avenue and Park Street in St. Paul.

"Cuts and fare increases will make it harder for people who use transit to get to work and school," it said in an email statement. "Riders in our community will pay more for less frequent service, shorter hours, fewer routes. These drastic cuts would have a devastating impact on the elderly, low-income workers, communities of color, people with disabilities, and those who are dependent upon transit to get around."

Metro Transit provided more than 82.6 million rides in 2016, averaging 266,916 rides each weekday. While that was down about 4 percent from 2015 when ridership hit its highest mark in 34 years, last year marked the sixth consecutive year Metro Transit provided more than 80 million annual rides. It also was the third-highest annual ridership since 1981.

Information about Tuesday's rally and to RSVP, click http://bit.ly/transitrally418

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