SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Mass transit’s future

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Greg Hinz talks about a new report due out today from Gov. Pat Quinn’s transit study commission, which is headed, Greg says, “by one of the best big thinkers in the Chicago area: business and civic activist George Ranney”

Likely to get a cooler response is a proposal to merge the CTA, Metra and Pace into one agency with one governing board and three operating units, in the process dismantling the Regional Transportation Authority. Mr. Ranney is dead set on killing the RTA, which he helped create three decades ago.

The agency never was given the power needed to do its job of supervising the CTA, Metra and Pace. Given that failure, the next-best alternative probably is setting up a mega-agency that would run the operating units, much like the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Doing so has some clear advantages. CTA, Metra and Pace each have their own planning departments, IT units, personnel departments and the like. Consolidating them could save $30 million to $50 million a year, according to people familiar with the Ranney report. That would buy a lot of buses and maybe a train or three.

There are two other financial advantages. Instead of crawling all over each other in Washington in a hunt for federal capital, disputes over priorities would have to be resolved locally. And if the agency actually did some smart stuff—shifting resources to priority areas, unrolling an expansion plan that makes sense, etc.—it would help open the door to what Chicago-area transit really needs: more money.

To quote one item in the preliminary version of the Ranney report, the Chicago region spent half as much per capita in the past decade on transit capital projects as peer cities Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington: $1,039 per person here versus an average of $2,039. All those metropolitan areas have strong unified or regional governance.

* And Bill Cameron at WLS Radio quotes Ranney

“The problem is not just transit, it’s the entire transportation system in this region has come to something of a standstill and people are spending a whole lot of time tied up in traffic,” Ranney, Jr. said. “The cost of an average commuter is $1500 a year just from the delays involved. So what really needs to happen here is you need an alternative, a relief value for all that auto traffic. And the best way to do it, the most effective and cheap way to do it is getting transit into better shape and encouraging people to use it. That’s the answer.”

And the answer may include raising the RTA sales tax.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


17 Comments
  1. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    It’s way past time to think about transit regionally, not Chicago vs the suburbs.


  2. - From the 'Dale to HP - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    That’s a lot of jobs he wants to get rid of. And would the mayor still have control over the CTA? And I’ve yet to see any support from the ‘burbs to help the CTA.


  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Congress isn’t any help in encouraging mass transit.

    The tax credit for train and bus commuters just got cut in half, while the tax credit for parking in a downtown garage just went up.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/tax-benefits-for-mass-transit-commuters-set-to-drop/2013/12/26/77e1d348-6e5a-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html


  4. - plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Again, the problem is that they are not spending enough? The transit agencies collect taxes from 6 counties, many have areas that are not served at all despite their contribution.

    Start by collecting at least 50% of the operating costs from the farebox.


  5. - phocion - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    Ranney’s problem isn’t that he’s pro-transit. It’s that he’s anti-road. Congestion isn’t created only because of lack of transit. It’s created because of lack of capacity that in some cases is due to outdated design. Take Circle Interchange, for instance. Governor Quinn is getting behind a major reconstruction that will have a huge impact on congestion relief while largely remaining in the existing footprint. Look further west on 290, where it goes from four lanes to three lanes and back to four lanes. That causes congestion. Yes, transit is important. But common sense design and improvement of our existing roads needs to happen now.


  6. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Yes the problem is we spend about half per capita what every other region spends and we get what we pay for. We already do collect 50% from the fare box. Unless we like traffic congestion, we need to buy better trains and buses.


  7. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Hallelujah Mr. Ranney.

    I don’t understand why car reliant people are opposed to additional transit funding. Every additional rider picked up is one less car in your way to work.

    Transit investment now is needed for the future trends. Consider:
    The number of young people(ages 16-24) with drivers licenses dipped below 70% for the first time since the 1960’s.
    In 2011 data Boomers (55-65) were 15 (!!!) times more likely to purchase a car.
    Study after study shows the new work force is urbanizing, and values walk score and amenities over property size. There are countless examples of corporations following this trend to retain/recruit talent and spur innovation.
    There are the eco arguments, but I think the biggest driver of these trends is the allure of unfettered use of your smartphone. Not that driving stops some idiots from using their phone constantly.


  8. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    + 1 on phocion’s comment.

    CTA is also against this new plan. nervous leaders want to retain big control and public platform.


  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    The one successful agency in the area, hate to say it, is the Tollway. Without much of anything in the way of federal funding (which the RTA agencies and IDOT District 1 are awash in) they manage to operate and maintain a 300+ mile system and are in the middle of a huge renovation and capacity expansion program, funded by the current and future users of the system. I hate paying tolls as much as the next guy, but I think a sizeable number of commuters would pay an extra $5 a day if it shaved 30 minutes off their now-”free” commute on some of the area’s expressways. And it makes all the sense in the world to bring the rail and bus transit agencies under one fare system and planning system, unlike today’s toothless RTA.


  10. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Dan Johnson, Pace does not come anywhere close to 50% farebox recovery.


  11. - Pete - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Expect more mention of the word system.
    This is going to be the buzz in transportation for during the next legislation to replace MAP 21.


  12. - Jen - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Until Pace was created there was very little bus transportation in the suburbs (still stingy but down to every 45 minutes during rush hour) - I would want to see that the suburbs would receive equal status with Chicago


  13. - Darienite - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    ==I would want to see that the suburbs would receive equal status with Chicago.== And that is why the RTA was a paper tiger. The burbs (Metra and Pace) did trust the CTA from taking a disportionate percentage of funds.


  14. - Fed up - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    Jen, demographics and density, mean that is a pipe dream. It’s just not cost effective to increase service in the burbs.


  15. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    In case anyone’s wondering, roads don’t pay for themselves with gas taxes and user fees. That 50% farebox threshold is a little too high, considering the ancillary benefits.

    http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/Do-Roads-Pay-Themselves.html


  16. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 6:01 pm:

    As a long-time government worker I find these consolidation proposals laughable. It’s always the same logic, i.e., personnel, IT, planning is all duplicated so just combine them and watch the savings pile up!

    Of course it never works that way. Chances are that most (not all) of the existing workers are doing something useful, and you only save money when you lay off significant numbers of people. The IT contractors will continue to make big money no matter how things are re-organized.

    Anyone who remembers the creation of the state’s Department of Human Services in 1997 will have a chuckle out of this proposal.


  17. - DuPage - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 7:12 pm:

    At one time, all the gas taxes went into highway trust funds, and could ONLY be spent on roads. Then, money started being diverted to be spent on other things.
    At one time, license plate and title fees were used strictly for secretary of state expenses, the rest went into road funds. Then, money began to be diverted to other unrelated programs.
    At one time, RTA taxes were used strictly for the RTA. Then RTA money began to be diverted to other unrelated expenses.
    It is no wonder they are all short of money. Things should be put back the way it was originally, so the road money goes for roads, RTA money goes for mass transit, car title fees go to run the secretary of state office.
    These other programs should be reviewed, and funded by general funds IF they are found to be worthwhile.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Maybe not
* Question of the day
* Stating the obvious
* Oy
* US Chamber plots Zopp support, 10th CD intervention
* Today's quotable
* A $650 Million Day for Exelon
* Potential candidate: Unions "spreading propaganda" about Rauner
* Illinois Mayors Know What's Best For Their Communities
* First Lady's group blasts Gov. Rauner for "devastating policies"
* McCann: I was elected to serve my constituents, not Madigan, Cullerton or Rauner
* Arduin heads for the exit door
* Today's number: 1.1 percent
* Dealing with Pat Quinn's mess
* Today's must-read
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Archos Diamond Tab now official, affordable 4G tablet
        * Add front-facing LED flash to Microsoft Lumia 950 XL’s rumored spec sheet
        * LG G4 Pro tipped to stand out with dual camera, fingerprint sensor, not metallic build
        * Acer intros a pair of Quad-Core powered Android phones
        * ReBoard Is An iOS Keyboard With Third Party App Shortcuts
        * More questionable LG Nexus 5 (2015) imagery surfaces, prospective release date also
        * Samsung opens beta testing for Samsung Pay for qualified parties

        * Rodon keeps rolling as Sox top Mariners
        * Eaton spark plug for Sox with key hits, hustle
        * Walker, Danks to duel for 2nd time this week
        * Rodon keeps rolling as Sox top Mariners
        * Sox don 'interesting' 1970s throwback uniforms
        * Sox don 'interesting' 1970s throwback uniforms
        * The ugly truth: Tonight's White Sox throwback uniforms are the best

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2015
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Officials seek cause of fatal haz-mat incident near Chicago
        * Rauner signs bill allowing township government to dissolve
        * EXCHANGE: Joliet park renamed for fallen soldier
        * Drivers urged to plan for downtown Chicago roadwork, closure
        * In-flight Internet provider Gogo opens Chicago headquarters
        * Peoria County gets $3.2 million to combat lead poisoning
        * Governor seeks federal help for storm-affected areas
        * Cincinnati educator named to lead Chicago Catholic Schools
        * Doctor fights charges he misled patients about marijuana
        * Candidates looking to replace Schock meet for another debate

        * Rauner signs bill allowing township governments to dissolve
        * Budget consultant may get second contract extension from Rauner administration
        * Judge will privately review disputed Schock documents
        * Budget expert leaves Illinois without state spending plan
        * Gov. Rauner approves Springfield railroad oversight commission bill
        * Federal judge blasts Illinois for not making all ordered payments
        * Rauner approves rail commission bill
        * Illinois State Fair manager: Past fair attendance numbers were inflated
        * Buchen: Past state fair attendance numbers were inflated
        * Health Central makes preparations to open Springfield's first medical marijuana dispensary

        * Mondelez marketing changes could bring job cuts
        * Meet Tom Pritzker, foreign policy analyst
        * Meet the 'wedding warriors' who founded Brideside
        * United to replace Hospira in S&P 500 next week
        * Do patients held for observation skew performance on quality measures?


          * 2 dead, 1 hurt, 4 officers injured in hazardous materials emergency
          * Chicago River still teems with fecal bacteria, tests show
          * Second City performances canceled through Sunday after fire destroys offices
          * 9 wounded in South, West side shootings
          * 2 dead, 7 injured in car accident in Robbins
          * 8 treated for Legionnaires' disease at Quincy veterans home
          * Salvation Army opening big new campus in Humboldt Park
          * Loop fire causes Hazmat response
          * 2 Ingleside crash victims named, identification of 3rd pending DNA results
          * Off-duty officer dies following motorcycle crash


          * Rauner signs bill allowing township governments to dissolve
          * Our Opinion: Ducking sunshine in the digital age
          * E.J. Dionne: Trump's video game mastery
          * Esther Cepeda: Don't bake your DNA
          * Junaid Afeef: American Muslims can't tackle ISIS recruitment alone
          * Budget consultant may get second contract extension from Rauner administration
          * Judge will privately review disputed Schock documents
          * J. Fred Giertz: Illinois government: dysfunction by incompetence or by design?
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Tom Madonia Jr. may run against Rep. Sue Scherer
          * Write to us: Tell us your volunteer story


          * Behind the scenes of our prep football cover shoot
          * Unelected board for Central site?
          * Tragedy, five years past, still haunts
          * A deal? Or disaster?
          * UI bringing Chinese language to broadcast booth
          * Thoughts about Clinton, Paul
          * Serving on jury a duty of citizenship
          * Donation lets Bailey Academy class go big
          * All dressed up ... and nowhere to go — for now
          * Vote on background check policy nears


          * Lambeau's Shopko gate has new metal detectors
          * Truck fire causing delays on I-90 at River Road in Rosemont
          * Dawn patrol: Investigators seek clues in hazmat deaths; Ingleside victims identified
          * Leading stem cell scientist cleared of misconduct charges
          * Leverkusen signs Kevin Kampl from Dortmund

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Protest over GMOs - RiverBender.com...

          * US Chamber plots Zopp support, 10th CD int......

          * The Weekend In Chicago Rock
          * Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey
          * Men need to be smart about safety too
          * Morning Minute: NAR identifies six factors to watch in housing
          * IAR members featured in NAR video on affordability
          * Watch your email for information on new member-customer benefit
          * Time to reserve Inaugural Gala tickets and sponsorships
          * See who played in RPAC Sterling Open Golf Challenge
          * Goodwin named finalist for NAR Good Neighbor Award
          * Morning Minute: Access to mortgage lending is improving, NAR survey finds


          * Governor Rauner Requests SBA Assistance for Grundy, Iroquois Counties - Declaration would help people and businesses affected by summer storms with low-interest, long-term loans to help with recovery
          * Respiratory Illness at Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy
          * Governor Takes Bill Action
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Thursday, August 27, 2015 until Sunset, Saturday, August 29, 2015.
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Friday, August 28, 2015 until Sunset, Sunday, August 30, 2015.




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller