At today's Chicago Transit Board meeting, Board members approved a resolution seeking support from state lawmakers for increased operating and capital funds for public transit.
?As members of the General Assembly negotiate state budget priorities, we hope they will keep in mind the value of public transit to the region's economy," said Nicholas Zagotta, Chicago Transit Board member. ?It is in the best interests of drivers, business owners and transit customers that we have a strong, well-funded regional transit system. We encourage state lawmakers to increase funding, protect CTA customers, and ensure that the business community pays its fair share for the benefits it receives from transit."
The resolution urges state lawmakers to:
- Provide increased operating revenues for regional transit to avert future service cuts and fare increases;
- Provide sufficient capital funding to bring CTA's and other service board's infrastructure to a state of good repair, and to capture all available federal funding for transit expansion; and
- Raise transit revenues in a manner that protects CTA customers and ensures that the business community pays its fair share for the benefits it receives from transit.
"The state's business community benefits from the contribution transit makes to increased productivity and property values," added Chicago Transit Board member Susan Leonis. ?Businesses and workers, transit customers and drivers, all need public transit to keep the economy strong and competitive."
The Chicago Transit Board met today to hear a presentation on a contingency plan that could be implemented later this year if anticipated funding is not available. At the direction of the RTA ?the financial oversight body for regional transit agencies ? the CTA developed a 2007 budget that anticipated an additional $110 million in public funding. The RTA recently asked the CTA to submit a plan detailing the steps the agency would need to take to balance its budget if the funding anticipated by the RTA is not available. The plan must first be approved by the Chicago Transit Board.
After carefully evaluating multiple scenarios, CTA President Ron Huberman recommended a plan that would combine further administrative cuts and efficiencies with higher fares, a 13% reduction in bus and rail service, and the transfer of nearly $57 million in capital funds that had been intended for renovating buses and rail cars. If approved by the Chicago Transit Board, these measures would bridge a $97.5 million gap in the CTA's 2007 budget.
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