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Pummeled by a plunge in sales tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday locked in steep cuts to Los Angeles County bus and rail service for nearly a year.

Metro’s directors voted 12 to 1 to approve a $6-billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year, a $1.2-billion reduction from 2020. The plan extends previously temporary cuts to bus and rail service, and trims the budgets for dozens of other Metro initiatives, including new rail lines and behind-the-scenes planning work.

As restaurants and bars closed and millions of L.A. County residents stayed home, sales taxes — Metro’s single largest source of revenue — plummeted. Losses mounted to more than $100 million per month, creating what board chairman and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti described as “the most challenging budget year we’ve ever been through.”

Metro’s new budget calls for about 5.6 million hours of bus service and 1 million hours of rail service through June. The 20% reduction formalizes the temporary service cuts that directors approved in April as revenue and ridership fell.

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