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Step up, and step back

Friday, Jun 29, 2007

* I’m not sure how “surprising” this CTA contract deal was since word has been going around about it for a couple of weeks or so. I had some of the details in the Capitol Fax a while back. But, anyway, the Sun-Times editorial today was otherwise on the mark

On Wednesday, after the CTA announced a surprising deal with all 17 of its labor unions that calls for key changes in pension and health care contributions, the governor gave the agency credit for “showing it is serious about improving service and efficiency.” But then he showed he was not serious about helping, leaning on his tired refrain about “closing corporate loopholes” to provide money to the agency.

That’s just not going to cut it. The governor needs to see the light and give the region the power to solve its own crisis. The CTA needs a reliable, permanent funding boost — and so do Metra and Pace, which are also suffering. It also needs to raise fares, because riders should also contribute to the solution.

And Mayor Daley, who was quick to call on Springfield to follow through after the CTA announced its union deal, needs to show a little commitment of his own by boosting the city’s ridiculously low contribution to the agency. We’re all in this together. It’s time to step up.

That last point about Daley is spot on. The city’s contribution to the CTA is indeed “ridiculously low.”

* And while this idea would normally be fine by me, the timing couldn’t have been worse…

Active-duty military personnel may get a bigger break on transit fares in the Chicago area, if the RTA has its way.

The Regional Transportation Authority passed a resolution Thursday asking the CTA and Pace to consider offering discounts to those on active duty. […]

It’s up to the CTA and Pace to decide whether they’ll follow suit. The timing isn’t ideal, considering budget problems.

But Pace spokeswoman Judi Kulm said, “It’s definitely something we’d consider.” The CTA had a similar response.

Judy Baar Topinka proposed the discount. Like I said, great idea, bad timing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - He makes Ryan look like a saint - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:11 am:

    Only 3 million is the City’s contribution? That is nuts!!! Downstate pays more than that in and we don’t use the dang transportation. The money should come from the City, County and collar counties. Hike the fare. We should not have to pay for Chicago’s transportation.

  2. - Lula May - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:20 am:

    The city needs to contribute more. What happened to all the billions after selling the skyway. County property taxes have doubled. Todd can pay himself and his relatives less and kick in some funds.

  3. - michael k - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:24 am:

    the money does not come from downstate. it comes from taxes collected in the region already. the proposal is to hike that tax.

  4. - silentk - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:38 am:

    I recently heard CTA President Ron Huberman field a question regarding how the City of Chicago $3million contribution stacks up to other transit metropoles.

    He indicated that the $3million figure does not include millions of dollars in security detail provided by Chicago, which appears as part of other City transit budgets; and referred to several city sponsored/funded capital programs for improving train stations.

    I suspect we will be hearing much more from the City and the CTA regarding how much is actually funded by Chicago.

  5. - Johnny USA - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:59 am:

    He makes Ryan look like a saint -

    You haven’t gotten the memo. Chicago is the heart of Illinois, and if Chicago rots away, downstate gets hurt too. So you downstaters have a vested interest in making Chicago successful.

    Now give us money.

  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 10:05 am:

    JU, the ONLY person who has asked downstate to contribute to the RTA and CTA in the coming fiscal year is Rod Blagojevich.

  7. - michael k - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 10:06 am:

    The City of Chicago owns all the subway right-of-ways. They are also responsible for the up-keep of them, etc. Currently, projects that have happened in the subway, such as station renovation, are the responsibility of the city. I remember at one point, Rich posted a link to a “fancy” project that he thought the CTA took on excessively, which was actually paid for by the City.

    The bottom line: $3 Million is not enough. Definitely need to pony up more. Also, they should include these “services” in their budget if they want to be held accountable for it. Obviously, it doesn’t look good on paper if you don’t.

  8. - Bluefish - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 10:08 am:

    Rich - Don’t forget that the State provides a 25% match to the RTA sales taxes collected. So downstate will have to contribute a bit to the solution.

  9. - Jerry - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 10:47 am:

    #1 - how about if we fund the CTA using the funds that come from city taxes that pay for your roads? The CTA will be the richest public transit agency in the world. Soon, we’ll have a more extensive subway network than New York.

    And you’ll have dirt roads.

  10. - Larry - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 2:50 pm:

    Did anyone hear about the contract giving prevailing wage rights to the craft unions in the CTA contract? Is that shortsighted buy off by Huberman and Daley or is there something else more insidious behind that?,CST-NWS-walmart29.article

  11. - Nosedistuff - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 6:38 pm:

    Any of you experts who may not think that there are state funds going to CTA and that it is all local sales tax, need to look up “Additional State Assistance” from IDOT’s GRF Aprop. After you inform yourselves, please have the courtesy to correct your incorrect rantings “up in here”.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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