200 angry demonstrators showed up at MTA headquarters in downtown Los Angeles to protest a proposed fare increase that could more than double some bus and train fares by 2009. Under the plan, the cash fare for both rail and bus would increase to $2 per ride from $1.25 and the monthly pass to $120 from $52 over the next 19 months. The MTA has a $4.7 billion bill to pay from debt accrued from building rail lines and other capital projects. It's also falling behind on operating costs for running additional buses. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who sits on the MTA board, says the MTA is pushing for too sharp an increase, and is calling for a 5 percent hike during each of the next five years. In jeopardy are rail projects such as the Expo line to Culver City and the Gold Line extension to Boyle Heights. Without the hike, MTA may also have to cut back on bus service.
* Rachael Myrow, KPCC Reporter
* Darrell Clarke, LAvisions.blogspot.com, writer
* Marc Hefele, City Beat and City Watch