The Chairman and President of the Chicago Transit Authority said today that they will recommend that the Chicago Transit Board cancel planned service cuts, fare increases and layoffs for 2005. Their decision came after a vote by the board of the Regional Transportation Authority to appropriate $54.3 million in state funding to the CTA. The CTA intends to use the money to close an expected $55 million shortfall in this year's budget.
"We greatly appreciate the support of RTA Chairman Jim Reilly, the RTA board, and the commitment of state lawmakers to increase investment in public transportation," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?The CTA is critical to our economy and the quality of life of people throughout the entire region. We cannot afford to let our transit system decline due to lack of funding. We must work together and find a way to continue to invest in it so it can grow."
Last month, the Illinois General Assembly designated $54.3 million for public transit funding for 2005. Through a grant, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will convey the money to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The RTA voted today to pass the entire amount along to the CTA.
?This is good news for CTA customers, employees, and commuters throughout the region," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The CTA provides 1.5 million rides each day and reductions in service would have had a negative impact throughout the region. We look forward to working closely with the RTA and our sister agencies, Metra and Pace, to tackle the long-term, structural funding challenges facing public transportation."
The grant provided by the state legislature is structured to provide a temporary funding solution. Long-term, stable transit funding increases are still necessary to avoid future budget shortfalls that result from a structural problem with the way transit is funded in this region. CTA management will continue to work with state leaders to work toward a permanent funding solution, Brown said.
"We look forward to continuing to work with state and regional leaders on a permanent solution so that we can keep the Chicagoland region moving," she said.# # #