Metra budget proposal highlights Illinois COVID-19 pandemic challenges; train line needs $70M in funding

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Metra will hold a virtual public hearing from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday regarding its $700 million budget proposal for next year.

RELATED: Metra Union Pacific trains resume ticket verification

The public can weigh in on the budget. It does not call for fare increases or service cuts, but Metra will need to procure $70 million in funding.

In October, Union Pacific still did not feel it was safe to send conductors through train aisles and punch tickets during the COVID-19 pandemic. That reportedly cost a million dollars of lost revenue every month. Back in September, Metra began operating at 10% ridership, with 25,000 passengers a day. Before the pandemic, an average of more than 181,000 riders were using Metra on a given day, according to officials.

Related: Metra wants riders to 'commute with confidence' during COVID-19 pandemic; officials unveil safety initiative, deep cleaning procedures
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