The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pondering deep cuts, including laying off 20 percent of its non-contact workforce, as it faces a $250 million budget deficit, according to La Opinion. Higher fares and fewer bus routes are also on the table.

The paper reports that the heads of more than 260 clerks, translators, media planners and managers are on the chopping block and could be gone within two months. Fair increases from $1.25 to $1.50, with daily passes going from $5 to $6 and monthly rates jumping from $62 to $75, are also being seriously considered. About 145,000 bus hours of service could be slashed by July 1, the paper's Isaias Alvarado reveals.

“In the next fiscal year we will cut much more, including, unfortunately, many jobs,” Metro spokesman Marc Littman to La Opinion.

The MTA already cut 120,000 hours of bus service last year, increase wait times at some stops by five minutes.

La Opinion points out the irony of Metro's quandary: It will receive a windfall in Measure R tax money — an estimated $40 billion — in the years to come. The funds, however, are slated mainly for the agency's expanding light-rail plans, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's oft-touted “subway to the sea.”

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