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Metro approves $2.55 billion budget

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Metro's board of directors on Thursday passed a $2.55 billion fiscal 2012 budget, upholding a promise to avoid a bump in fares.

In the spring, Metro faced a budget gap close to $66 million and suggested cutting several Metrobus lines and extending the wait time between weekend trains.

Metro's board members chose to take the longer train waits off the table, as well as the elimination of the Chevy Chase (E6) bus line, something board Chairman Catherine Hudgins said "gives us a good reflection of what we heard from our customers."

General Manager Richard Sarles described the financial plan as "great for riders" and announced that a $30 million repayment into its capital program from fiscal 2011 would allow for an increase in funding for escalator maintenance and speed the purchase of 51 new Metrobuses by a year.

Roughly half of the budget is dedicated for operating dollars and about $1 billion is for bricks-and-mortar projects in fiscal 2012, which starts July 1.

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