originally posted 3/15/07
The CTA is very pleased with the Auditor General's report.
"I want to thank Mr. Holland," said CTA Chairman Carole Brown. "Finally, he has given us independent verification of what we have been saying all along. The report highlights the need for increased transit investment, and it supports CTA's efforts to secure additional reforms and efficiencies in labor operations and pension financing."
The audit report supports arguments CTA has highlighted for several years:
1. The clean financial audit confirms the integrity of CTA's accounting, and the performance audit verifies that CTA's efficiency is generally consistent with industry standards.
2. Regional transit faces a "serious financial shortfall" that must be addressed to provide sustainable service and to secure new federal funds.
3. The joint labor-management pension plan for CTA employees is seriously underfunded, and reforms are needed to employee pensions and the collective bargaining process.
"Insufficient funding is at the root of the challenges facing the CTA today, and I'm very pleased that the Auditor General's report recognizes that funding is an issue that needs to be addressed," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "In spite of the challenges, the CTA has managed to grow annual ridership by 55 million since 1997 and continually improve performance and efficiency. But inadequate funding threatens to undo these accomplishments in the immediate future."
By advocating for new funding to first maintain existing CTA, Metra and Pace service and then enhance and expand the transit network, RTA's Moving Beyond Congestion initiative takes a prudent approach towards addressing what the Auditor General termed "a serious financial shortfall".
Securing long-term, sustainable funding for transit will help reduce congestion, enhance Illinois' economic competitiveness, mitigate against climate change, and reduce oil dependence. This spring, CTA looks forward to working with state lawmakers to help get public transit funding back on track.
Illinois Auditor General's web site