October 1, 2004

The Chicago Transit Authority has finalized the dates for its upcoming public hearings giving CTA customers and the general public an opportunity to comment on the 2005 budget proposal and potential service cuts. The hearing that was tentatively scheduled for October 12 has been rescheduled to Thursday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Roberto Clemente High School, 1147 North Western in Chicago.

Dates for the other public hearings on potential service cuts are Tuesday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Chicago State University ? Jacoby Dickens Athletic Center, 9501 South King Drive in Chicago and Monday, October 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Evanston Township High School ? Bacon Cafeteria, 1600 Dodge Avenue in Evanston.

The public hearing on the proposed 2005 budget is Wednesday, October 27 at 4 p.m. at the Palmer House, 17 East Monroe.

At its regular monthly meeting on September 22, the Chicago Transit Board approved a resolution seeking support from the General Assembly for the increased operating funding levels recently established by the Regional Transportation Authority. Unless the General Assembly supports RTA's operating and capital transit funding marks for 2005, CTA will be forced to cut service.

The resolution seeks support from the RTA and the General Assembly for increased funding and changes in state statute to provide the RTA greater policy discretion to allocate funding in a manner that more effectively:

Reduces traffic congestion and urban sprawl.

Increases transit ridership by basing funding in part on each service board's ridership performance.

Improves air quality thereby lowering asthma rates, ozone levels and improving the general health and welfare of the entire region.

Induces and rewards efficient and cost-effective transit subsidies.

Ensures that operating funds are distributed fairly to minority and non-minority residents as required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Since 1985, the inflation-adjusted amount of public funding to operate the region's trains and buses has fallen and CTA has been the hardest hit. CTA's inflation-adjusted funding for bus and rail operations from federal, state and local sources is projected to be $100 million less in 2005 than in 1985.

In addition to the significant loss in inflation-adjusted funding, CTA's share of regional funding has eroded. While the CTA's share of regional ridership has remained above 80 percent, its share of regional public transit funding has declined from 71 percent to 59 percent since 1980. The current transit funding formula is designed around geographic boundaries and retail sales and does not reflect ridership, service levels and other performance-based criteria.

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