• Cash-strapped MBTA considers hitting commuters with another fare hike


    The cash-strapped Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is facing another big budget shortfall, and commuters may have to pay the price to help cover it.

    Commuters could end up paying a higher fare considering the shortfall for the fiscal year, which begins in July, is expected to increase to about $111 million.

    That gap is three times larger than the budget shortfall forecast a year ago.

    More than 1.2 million trips are taken across the network of trains, trolleys, buses, subways and ferries.

    But new costs are adding to the budget woes include:

    • Pension and debt payments
    • The launch of Commuter Rail service to Foxborough
    • Contractor payment increases
    • Union worker raises that they agreed to forgo last year

    The MBTA is eligible to raise fares in January 2019. There’s a law that limits fare hikes to a maximum of 7 percent every two years.

    The last time the MBTA raised its fares was in July 2016, and that was by 9 percent.

    The agency continues to try and figure out new ways to bring in revenue, and there was also the suggestion to raise parking fees.

    That would be the first hike since 2008.

    Monday’s budget meeting was just the first, but April 15 is the deadline to figure out how to fix the $100 million shortfall.

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