Budget change proposed to save weekend Tri-Rail service - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Budget change proposed to save weekend Tri-Rail service

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Could a last-minute budget move salvage Tri-Rail weekend service?

Again, this year, the state legislature failed to approve a permanent funding source for the South Florida's commuter rail line. Also contributions from the three counties where Tri-Rail runs, are expected to be way down due to the bad economy dragging down revenues.

So the Regional Transportation Authority proposed reducing weekday trains by more than a third, from 48 to 30 and eliminating weekend service completely. The cuts were to begin in October.

But later this week, at the Transportation Authority's final budget hearing, board members will consider an amendment that would divert money set aside for parking and station improvements, to pay for Tri-Rail's operating expenses. The move would allow the agency to keep the current train schedule, at least until a funding source is found.

Tri-Rail passenger Rose Fisher says she hopes that happens. "It's going to affect a lot of people" if the cuts go forward, she said Saturday at the train station in downtown West Palm Beach. "I think they should reconsider." Fisher doesn't drive and depends on Tri-Rail to attend nursing classes during the week. She also hopes to take a weekend train later this year, to catch a flight at Ft. Lauderdale Airport.

The Regional Transportation Authority's final budget hearing is Friday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. at the agency's headquarters which is across the street from the Pompano Beach train station.

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