* Things are not going well (again) for some commuters this afternoon…
* Go to Metra’s website and you’ll see this…
Metra has an unsustainable economic model and faces the worst financial crisis in its 33-year history. In addition to a chronic lack of adequate funding for capital assets, such as rolling stock and infrastructure, Metra is now faced with decreased funding for operations. […]
Because capital funding has been inadequate, Metra now has the oldest commuter fleet in the nation. Approximately 40 percent of Metra’s assets are classified as in marginal or worn condition. Half of the 800 bridges in Metra’s system are 100 years old or older. These assets, while safe, have exceeded their useful lives. Metra will always run a safe railroad, but continued use will result in higher operating costs and degraded on-time performance.
Public funding for operating costs, provided through a regional transportation sales tax and a partial state match, is falling short. […]
Public funding for capital is also falling short. In past decades, the state recognized the need to fund capital improvements for public transportation and did so regularly. In recent years, the lack of a state bond program for capital investment has had impacts on funding for public transportation. Metra understands it cannot continue to ask its customers to pay higher fares in the absence of adequate public funding. […]
The current situation is unsustainable, and threatens the future viability of the important service Metra provides. Funding levels will need to change to ensure Metra can continue to provide the service its riders depend upon, or else that service will have to be cut.
Remember earlier today when several suburban Republican legislators were screaming about the prospect of more government spending? One even called increased spending “evil.” I wonder if any of them took the Metra home after their press conference.