* The governor, under fire for helping tube the CTA/RTA bailout bill in the House, is trying to make himself look like the savior, and the TV news is helping him out…
It is only six days until the CTA is expected to enact its doomsday plan with fare hikes of up to $1 and the elimination of 39 bus routes, but that all could change with a plan Gov. Rod Blagojevich says is in the works. […]
Some CTA riders a few days ago were blaming the governor for not coming up with a plan to help prevent the transit authority’s doomsday scenario. But now that it appears he may have done so, commuters are expressing relief.
“Great; that’s fantastic,” one woman said.
“Terrific, terrific,” said CTA rider Jennifer Samuels. “Something had to be done.” […]
A source in the governor’s office says that “something” will be coming in the next few days, and that Blagojevich will “offer financial assistance to stave off the CTA’s so-called doomsday scenario,” which is slated to take effect on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
* More TV…
Governor Rod Blagojevich may soon have a plan to avert the CTA’s looming fare hikes and service cuts.
Sources say the governor is expected to announce a short-term bailout for the transit agency possibly today or tomorrow. The move will buy the CTA some time while state lawmakers work out a permanent solution.
The last-minute action is welcome news to riders who have been preparing for the worst.
* And what might that help be?
It is not clear where the governor would get the money to help the CTA or whether he would ante up the full $20 million that CTA President Ron Huberman says that they need to continue operating.
* More TV…
CTA President Ron Huberman said that CTA officials plan a Wednesday morning meeting with representatives from Blagojevich’s office to discuss the funding situation.
* The Sun-Times apparently wasn’t leaked anything, so it wisely buried the “rescue” way down…
…there were reports late Tuesday that Gov. Blagojevich may come up with enough cash to stave off cuts and buy lawmakers more time. […]
The governor’s office did not release details of any temporary reprieve Blagojevich might grant. It has also been mum on permanent solutions, though it has made it known he favors ending a series of corporate tax breaks to support mass transit.
* Meanwhile, Eric Zorn was given a list of corporate loopholes the governor favors instead of a tax hike on “people.” Several of these loophole closures have already been defeated in the General Assembly, however, and the total amount raised comes up about $100 million short of the negotiated proposal that’s before the legislature right now. Also, Zorn was not given a breakdown of how much each loophole would actually raise.
* OneMan responds, as does Dan Johnson-Weinberger.
* Adding to the CTA’s woes, the feds came out with a report yesterday that blasted the agency’s safety procedures…
Federal safety investigators blamed last year’s CTA Blue Line derailment on poor track conditions that grew out of faulty inspections, falsified reports and systemic failures in the transit agency’s management of track maintenance and inspection.
Obvious track defects that should have been included in CTA inspection reports weren’t. And other reports were falsified to show that repairs had been made when they hadn’t been, according to a scathing report issued Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
One NTSB member compared the checks and balances in the CTA’s track maintenance and oversight to “swiss cheese”: full of holes.