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A Wilton state representative is circulating a petition with the aim of stopping a proposed five percent fare increase on Connecticut's commuter rail lines.  Republican Gail Lavielle contends commuters are not seeing transit service improvements in return for the increase proposed by the Department of Transportation.

 

She says it has nothing to do with performance or service to commuters, but everything to do with plugging a hole in the state budget. 

 

It is scheduled to take effect December 1st.

 

The increase would affect the New Haven commuter rail line, including the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branches, as well as Shore Line East.  It's expected to generate $5.9 million to help cover budget cuts.

 

Lavielle and 15 of her colleagues will ride the rails in the coming days to collect signatures.  She acknowledged that it's difficult for commuters to get to the public hearings, so the lawmakers are going to the commuters.  People can also sign the petition online.

 

Their alternate funding proposal is to get rid of a sales tax exemption.  There is an exemption on sales tax for tickets to events at the XL Center, Webster Bank Arena and a couple of other venues.  She wants sales tax to be charged, saying it will raise the same amount of money.  Lavielle says it's a much more fair solution because those are recreational events.  She says commuters have been encouraged to ride the rails and get off the roads and shouldn't be taxed for it.

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