* 1:05 pm - Is the governor’s “plan,” so breathlessly hyped by the TeeVee, a dud?
Chicago Transit Authority chairwoman Carole Brown says the agency still anticipates implementing service cuts and fare increases beginning Sunday.
Brown, along with Regional Transportation Authority chairman Jim Reilly, had been meeting with representatives from Governor Rod Blagojevich’s office to try to find away to delay the plan.
But after the meeting, Brown said the CTA still doesn’t have sufficient funding to avoid suspending 39 bus routes and raising fares by up to $1.
CTA officials plan a media availability shortly. I’ll try to post some details, but I have a family obligation so it would be nice if some commenters could help me monitor things. Thanks.
* 2:26 pm - From WBBM Radio…
A source tells WBBM the governor is proposing is to give the CTA its full-year state subsidy of $24 million right now, instead of spreading it out over time. That would presumably allow the legislature time to come up with permanent funding
Immediately following the CTA board meeting Wednesday, Brown and CTA President Ron Huberman joined a conference call with the RTA’s legal team to discuss the proposal.
Brown said the deal proposed by Gov. Blagojevich would provide the CTA with enough money to operate for a few more weeks and would allow for lawmakers in Springfield to craft a transit funding deal.
Brown says CTA officials will meet with RTA leadership and that the legal review is necessary because the agency isn’t sure it can use the proposed money. Brown says her office plans on responding quickly to Blagojevich’s offer. […]
The CTA has already spent $3 million re-programming their equipment for the “doomsday” scenario.
[Hat tip to “GA Watcher” in comments.]
* 2:30 pm - From the governor’s office…
– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today will announce an immediate financial assistance package that will help the CTA and RTA avoid service cuts, fare hikes and employee lay-offs.
WHO: Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
WHAT: Governor Blagojevich will announce CTA financial assistance package.
CITY: Chicago, Illinois
WHERE: Governor’s Office James R. Thompson Center
TIME: 3:00 PM
* 2:32 pm - Tribune…
“We are not sure it is something we can use,” Brown told the board. “We will have a response in short order.”
* 3:11 pm - They’re taking the cash. The Tribune has the details…
The CTA’s top officials this afternoon accepted a short-term funding bailout proposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to avert fare increases and service cuts set to take effect Sunday and Monday, but the agency’s doomsday scenario will still take place in November unless new funds are obtained.
CTA Board Chairman Carole Brown announced the decision after meeting in Blagojevich’s Chicago office to discuss funding proposals. Before taking effect, the move needs to be green-lighted by the RTA in a meeting scheduled for Friday.
Brown said the plan will “give the legislature more time to craft a long-term funding solution for the region.”
* 3:27 pm - The governor just told reporters that he’s still working on a long-term solution for the CTA and the RTA.
There is a question about whether he can legally advance the CTA’s fare subsidy money, but when have those things ever stopped him?
* 3:32 pm - From the governor’s letter to the CTA and the RTA…
Though the General Assembly has not yet approved a state mass transit funding package, we’re working with lawmakers and believe such a resolution is not far off. In order to avoid the fare increases, lay-offs and service cuts your agencies vowed to implement by the end of this week, and to provide lawmakers more time to reach consensus on a long-term funding solution, I am offering to accelerate State funding to provide an immediate $37 million to the RTA this month, which will provide $24 million more for the CTA immediately.
In the budget passed by the General Assembly last month, $31 million of the $37 million RTA Fare Subsidy paid by the Illinois Department of Transportation is designated for the CTA; but only $7 million of the CTA’s portion is scheduled to be paid by December 31, 2007. By advancing the full fiscal year subsidy, the CTA will immediately receive the $7 million it is counting on for this calendar year, and an additional $24 million in funds to continue meeting the needs of commuters while the General Assembly finalizes and passes a longer-term funding plan.
The full letter is here.