The Met Council is facing a projected $74 million transportation budget shortfall, and on Monday the Transportation Committee will talk about ways to plug the gap, including raising bus and rail fares. Some service reductions also are being considered.

Fares were last raised in 2008.

Among the options on the table include raising all fares 25 cents. Another option would raise fares for local rides by 25 cents and express fares by 50 cents. A third scenario would also raise fares and charge $3.50 for all express trips regardless of time of day.

The prospect of higher fares and service cuts that would impact Metro Transit and suburban transit riders have transit advocates calling for people to show up at Monday's 4 p.m. meeting in the Met Council Chambers at 390 North Robert Street to voice their opposition.

"For years the Minnesota legislature has refused to increase long-term funding for transit. Now facing major budget gaps, the Met Council is looking at Metro Transit service cuts and fare increase," said Transit for Livable Communities, a transportation advocacy nonprofit. "We're frustrated and worried about how this could impact families and workers who rely on transit every day. Join us on Monday to stand up for transit riders and for affordable, equitable transportation in the metro."

Another effort called Say No to Metro Transit Fare Hike Proposal is also calling for people to turn out for Monday's meeting.

"Tell Metro Transit we don't want fares increased," the group's Facebook posting reads. "Bus and rail are the main means of transportation for many Twin Citians especially the elderly and low income. Bus and rail are also important for people who cannot reach their places of employment any other way.  Tell them [legislators] to demand that the State of Minnesota find ways to help underwrite the cost of transit."

Here is a link to a slide presentation that will be shown at Monday's meeting.

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