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GO Transit service not affected by pay hike for Metrolinx employees: Matthews

TORONTO - The governing Liberals are reassuring commuters that GO Transit services won't be reduced by increased spending on employee wages.

About 1,850 staff, including bus drivers and ticket sellers are getting a wage hike of 8.45 per cent over four years, but the cash-strapped government says there's no extra money to pay for it.

Treasury Board president Deb Matthews says Metrolinx, the regional transit authority that runs GO, will have to find the money for the pay increase within its existing budget.

But she says it still must maintain or improve GO Transit service, which the government has promised to expand significantly over the next few years.

Interim Tory Leader Jim Wilson says if Metrolinx can afford the wage increase, they should have used the money to lower fares instead.

He says it's suspicious that the deal for the pay hike was struck just before the June 12 election.

Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins says the deal is affordable and avoided a strike.

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