Surrounded by buses -- representing the size of purchase the CTA could have made had there been an accurate 1990 census count -- CTA President Frank Kruesi today encouraged Chicagoland residents to be counted in the 2000 census by the end of the month.
"The undercount in the City of Chicago alone cost the CTA up to $10 million. To put it in perspective, it costs $2.3 million a day just to operate this system. The money lost from the last census is equivalent to one workweek of service. That's a lot of money -- money that could have been used to provide more new buses and trains for our customers," said Kruesi.
Each person who was not counted in the 1990 census cost the CTA $5.11 a year. In the ten years since that census, it is estimated that the CTA lost $10 million in federal and state funding that is distributed on the basis of population. For roughly $10 million, the CTA can purchase 38 new standard buses or 20 new articulated buses or erect 976 bus shelters. For that same amount, a complete rail station could be rebuilt or an entire rush-hour length eight-car 'L' train purchased.
CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "Funding levels for the next decade will rely on this census count. An accurate count ensures that the CTA will receive the money it needs to maintain our equipment and continue to provide quality service."
Official census counts are used to distribute government funds to communities and states for schools, health facilities and many other needs, including mass transit. These capital funds from federal and state governments are essential to the CTA's rebuilding programs.
The CTA is working with the City of Chicago and the other sister agencies to emphasize the importance of the census. CTA efforts around the city include regular announcements of the census phone number at rail platforms and on buses and trains. Stickers will be affixed to all fare equipment and car cards will be displayed on trains and buses. In addition, volunteers will be distributing census information to CTA customers at busy intersections and rail stations throughout the city.
"With so much at stake on the 2000 census, we are asking all CTA customers to please respond as soon as possible. By calling in their census information, people who reside in Chicago and the 38 other communities that CTA serves can help the CTA receive its fair share in funding distribution," said Kruesi.
Residents who have not yet received a census form or have not been contacted by a census taker can be counted over the phone by calling 1-800-471-9424 (English) 1-800-471-8642 (Spanish).
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