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Free transit rides may be on the way for Valley veterans

PHOENIX — Chicago, Denver and Seattle do it.

Now, Phoenix is considering offering free or reduced public transit fares to veterans.

On Tuesday, the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee is expected to decide whether to pursue the idea.

According to a city council report, there are more than 275,000 veterans living in Maricopa County, including more than 80,000 in Phoenix. Depending on the number of veterans who would use the bus or light rail, the free or reduced fare program could cost from $300,000 to more than $2 million a year.

The Valley Metro transit system already offers a reduced fare program to children, seniors and people with disabilities.

If the Phoenix subcommittee votes to move forward with the veterans program, its staff would provide a detailed cost analysis. Final approval would need to come from the full city council and the Valley Metro Board of Directors.