Metra boss: service cuts likely without federal virus aid

Metra rail
Metra Photo credit USA Today Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The head of the Metra commuter rail service says weekend and even midday service may face cuts if Congress doesn’t come through with more virus aid.

Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski said the rail service has received $480 million in federal COVID-19 relief. But with current ridership at just 10% compared with pre-coronavirus numbers, the rail agency is facing a more than $680 million shortfall.

Metra needs at least $200 million more from Washington to offset potential service cuts, Derwinski said. He said the Metra board may have to look at the cost of midday service, evening service or even the possibility of halting weekend train service.

Transit agencies across the country are facing similar decisions, Derwinski says.

He is the guest on “At Issue,” which airs 9:30 p.m. Sunday.