BOSTON (AP) — An MBTA advisory board has suggested limiting proposed fare hikes to 25 percent and avoiding service cuts by having other state agencies take over certain T functions.

The board, which represents communities served by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, announced its plan Wednesday as an alternative to steeper fare hikes and service cuts proposed by the transit agency as a way to close a $161 million budget shortfall.

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The T is under no obligation to accept the suggestions.

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The plan includes having the state Executive Office of Public Safety take over transit police, and the Massachusetts Port Authority take over ferry services and subsidize Silver Line bus service.

The T has come under intense public criticism for proposing the service cuts and fare hikes as high as 43 percent.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.