* Could there be some movement on the transit bailout bill?
The transit union that represents 600 bus drivers, facing layoffs on Sunday, was planning a news conference to claim that layoff notices were not sent out in a timely manner and the CTA has enough cash on hand to keep operating at full tilt. Those allegations could have been followed by a lawsuit, a work stoppage or some other type of job action, but all of the threats are now on hold, because Illinois’ political leaders are reassuring the president of the transit union that a bailout will be approved in Springfield this week.
“He is very confident that there will be a resolution, a legislative resolution, to the transit funding crisis,” said Melvin Caldwell, transit union lobbyist.
* But, there’s a catch, as always…
“The legislature will take action and will be responsible and not allow one of the largest mass transit systems become paralyzed,” Melvin Caldwell, ATU Local Union 241, said. […]
A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says he’s not aware of any breakthrough.
Another “super-secret” plan from the governor, perhaps? I’ll believe it when I see it.
* Meanwhile, this is a concern that most of us don’t think about when the topic of transit cuts is discussed…
Chicago Police are planning to pull desk-duty officers onto the street to help shore up patrols around schools that will be most affected by the upcoming CTA cuts.
Officials are bracing for more children being on the street for longer periods of time as they search out a new route or wait at a stop because of packed buses.
Another concern is that students will be crossing gang territories and walking in neighborhoods they don’t know. After-school programs that have youth staying well after dark are expected to be affected as well.
* The Sun-Times did a story about the gang turf problem earlier this month…
About 400 Steinmetz High School kids use the bus on Narragansett — not even a block away — to quickly get to and from the Northwest Side school every day.
But under the proposed CTA “doomsday” cuts on Nov. 4, they would have to scatter to new bus routes for longer commutes — some crossing through gang turfs.
One police officer in the area estimated there are more than a half-dozen gangs around the school.
* And the horror stories are really coming out with the deadline approaching…
Holding a cane in one hand and a piece of notebook paper less than an inch from her face in the other, Mary Anne Sullivan begged Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman and the agency’s board Tuesday night to spare the bus routes she uses as they make budget cuts for 2008.
To make it to work on time, “I have to be [at a CTA bus stop] at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sullivan, 41, a Park Ridge resident who is visually impaired. “If I have to depend on Pace, I have to walk a mile and a half.”
* More CTA and session stuff, compiled by Paul…
* Clout Street: Daley calls out lawmakers on mass transit
* Sun-Times Editorial: Get going on the CTA
* Tribune Editorial: Four days and counting for the CTA
* State, SIUC officials tout capital bill
* Tribune Editorial: In search of teeth on gift ban act
* Phil Kadner: Spinning the wheel for a casino