Digest: Metra says it's not planning to cut weekend service

News Wire Digest third section for Sept. 25: LA Metro cuts $1.2 billion from budget; police camera captures train-vs.-truck collision in Georgia
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A Metra Rock Island train departs from the Mokena, Ill., station in 2018. Despite a published report, Metra says it is not considering elimination of weekend service.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Still more Friday morning rail news:

Metra not planning to cut weekend service, but faces 'difficult choices
Elimination of weekend service is not currently in Metra’s plans, but it and the other Chicago-area transit agencies will face “awful and extremely difficult choices” without help from the federal government, a Metra spokesman says. Responding to a published report in Crain’s Chicago Business saying an end to weekend Metra service was a possibility to address the commuter railroad’s budget deficit, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis told the suburban Daily Herald that an end to weekend operation “is not something we have specifically identified as a potential cut.” Overall, the head of the Regional Transportation Authority — parent organization to Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority, and Pace bus service — told Crain’s the transit agencies were facing a $400 million shortfall with the loss of ridership because of COVID-19.

LA Metro approves budget with $1.2 billion cut, extending service reductions
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a fiscal 2021 budget cutting $1.2 billion from the amount budgeted in 2020, extending service cuts currently in effect and cutting funds for planned construction. The Los Angeles Times reports the budget will mean 20% reductions from pre-COVID-19 service levels through June of 2021, but avoids layoffs or fare increases. It will cut overtime by more than 40% for union workers.

Police camera captures truck-train collision in Georgia
A police department camera captured video of a semi-truck being hit by a Norfolk Southern train in Georgia on Thursday, after the train continued through a grade crossing as the gates came down, then got stuck on the tracks while making a turn. WAGA-TV has posted video of the accident in Villa Rica, Ga., about an hour west of Atlanta. The truck, hauling raw meat, was hit about 4 p.m., closing the rail line and grade crossing for about two hours. The TV station report does not mention if there were any injuries.

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