Facing a $20 million 2009 budget deficit stemming largely from rising fuel costs, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority last week issued a proposal to raise fares and cut service in Cuyahoga County.

Like many transportation authorities across the country, the Cleveland RTA is struggling with unexpectedly high fuel costs even as ridership climbs as commuters abandon their cars for public transportation. Officials said the agency expects to pay $8.4 million more for diesel fuel this year compared to last.

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