Local News

The board of the Metra commuter rail agency has approved fare increases averaging nearly 11 percent next year, the first of 10 years of planned fare boosts.

The fare increases will occur every year over the coming decade to eventually rise about 68 percent above current costs. Metra officials say the fare boosts will bankroll upgrades to Metra's fleet, pay for new mandated safety technology and cover the rises in operating costs.

Metra board members on Friday unanimously approved a 2015 budget that contains the biggest fare increase of 10.8 percent. The new fares will go into effect Feb. 1.

Board members also directed Metra Executive Director Don Orseno to look at spending cuts for 2015.

Earlier this week, Metra officials unveiled new snow-fighting equipment to deal with the cold.

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