The Metra Board of Directors has approved the agency’s 2019 budget, which will not include a fare increase.
The total budget checks in at $822 million, a 3.1 percent increase over last year’s budget, the agency said in a press release. The agency will also spend $185.6 million on capital improvement projects, far short of the amount needed to address a series of maintenance issues, according to the release.
“About 40 percent of Metra’s assets are classified as in marginal or worn condition,” the agency said. “Half of its bridges are more than 100 years old, and at the present rate of replacement of three bridges a year, it would take Metra 150 years to replace the oldest bridges.”
The agency has repeatedly cited a lack of funding from the state of Illinois as the reason behind its financial struggles, but opted not to increase fares this year to overcome that funding shortfall. The agency will get $173.6 million in federal funds to help address improvement projects.