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Fewer Trains and More Taxes

By Scott Smith in News on Feb 16, 2005 8:34PM

2005_02_16_cta2.jpgIn case you haven’t heard, there’s a meeting tonight about the upcoming Brown Line closures. The meeting starts at 7 PM in the Olson Auditorium at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Wellington (just off the Belmont stop at Sheffield). Go in the main entrance and the people at the front desk will tell you how to get there.

Because the CTA wasn’t initially planning on closing any Brown Line stations during the construction, the stations selected for temporary closure (and the times they’ll be closed) sound like they were chosen by the JV league of Windy City Darters during a Drink ‘Till You Cause A Puncture Wound Tourney. The CTA has tried to emphasize how very few stations will be concurrently closed--though their press release notes that the stations on the northernmost portions of the line will be closed for up to 10 weekends in a row. Don’t expect anything to change at tonight’s meeting no matter how loudly you engage in primal scream therapy. Unless significant capital funding comes in from Springfield, the closings will be necessary to keep the project on-budget even though ridership on the Green Line has never fully recovered from its own construction-related shutdowns. We're just wondering how we’re supposed to know when certain stations will be "non-concurrently closed." (Don’t you love gov-speak?)

Speaking of significant funding, Governor Blagojevich plans to announce a tax on software to help make up the $65 million dollar shortfall in the CTA’s operating budget. Maybe now Blago will ease up on the people buying Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto if it means they’re going to help bail out the CTA. Wait a you think he had this planned out all along? Maybe he’s got more going on underneath that Elvis ‘do then we give him credit for. The governor’s budget also proposes a 75-cent tax increase on cigarettes, which would bring the total state tax on a pack of cancer sticks to $1.73 and the total tax for Chicago residents to $3.21.

Click here for a list of cigarette shops in Munster, IN just over the Illinois border.

Image: Northside Shirts