Deep inside a sweeping balanced budget proposal unveiled Friday by Gov. Dannel Malloy is some potentially unwelcome news for area commuters: a fare hike.
The proposal, which is subject to approval by the Connecticut General Assembly, would raise Metro-North fares on the Connecticut section of the New Haven Line by 15 percent.
Between that increase and a 14 percent hike proposed for Shoreline East, the plan estimates savings of $14,954,666 for FY 2012 and $22,709,500 for FY 2013.
Neither set of fares has been raised since 2005, the proposal notes.
Jim Cameron, chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said Friday that he hopes the hike "is really being used as leverage to try and get the unions back at the table to agree on concessions."
"This is not the first time that Gov. Malloy or before him Gov. [M. Jodi] Rell have cried fire in a crowded theater and tried to get the commuters to grab the extinguishers," Cameron said. "So I'm not worried that this 15 percent fare increase would go through at this point."
According to Cameron, any fare increase would be subject to a public hearing process, which would take a minimum of 90 days.
Full disclosure: Cameron writes a weekly column for Patch.