Legislators ask residents to sign petition against Metro-North hikes State Representatives Jason Perillo (R-113) and Ben McGorty (R-122) are circulating a petition to commuters in a concerted effort to stop the proposed 5% fare increase for all Metro-North and Shoreline East trains, which would take effect on December 1. For Metro-North commuters, the fare hike would be combined with a previously scheduled 1% increase, making the increase 6% in total. The proposed fare increase is a direct result of the $37 million in cuts imposed on the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) by the administration as part of the 2016-2017 revised state budget passed by majority legislators last May. In its announcement of the proposed increase, the DOT said that it expected the higher fares to generate $5.9 million. “This is another example of how legislative leaders and the governor are balancing the state budget on the backs of those that can afford it least,” said Rep. Perillo. “These rail lines are an essential part of the state’s commuter network, providing affordable transportation and reducing traffic emissions. Making it more expensive for people to go to their jobs is simply bad policy.” “This is one of the many unfortunate results of the terrible budget passed at the end of last session that slashed the subsidies to Metro North fares,” said Rep. McGorty. “This administration and majority Democrats are making it harder for businesses to stay in Connecticut, and now they’re making it more expensive for people that have jobs to get to them. It shows backward priorities, and we need to stand up against this rate hike.” Perillo and McGorty noted that Metro-North passengers already endured 5% increases in 2012, 2013, and 2014, and 1% increases in 2015 and 2016. Because these commuters have no alternative for getting to work in many cases, there is little they can do to avoid these increases. To help rail passengers make their voices heard the two legislators and their colleagues have created an online petition that is easily accessible online atwww.nofareincrease.com. The CT DOT has announced that public hearings will be held this month in six communities, including Stamford, New Haven, and Waterbury. The full public hearing schedule is posted at www.ct.gov/dot.