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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will host a hearing April 7 to solicit public comment on its proposed $1.8 billion budget for fiscal-year 2016.Unlike an earlier draft, the new proposal includes no fare increases, officials said. The budget would eliminate the TransitLink Card pass for Metrorail, however.Reduced passenger revenue resulted in a $19.6 million decrease in Metrorail's budget compared with 2015, amounting to a 3 percent year-over-year decrease. Ridership on Metrorail is expected to decline for a variety of reasons, including lower gas prices and stagnant federal employment in the area, according to the budget document.The delivery of 192 new series 7000 railcars remains among the agency's priorities for 2016, WMATA officials said in an executive summary of the budget.The budget proposal also would prioritize delivering safer service per recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board, implementing a fatigue management program for employees and increasing customer awareness of safety and security.The budget, as well as any amendments to it, would take effect in July. The public also may provide feedback through WMATA's online survey through April 13.
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