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Save Chicago Transit (dot com)

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Apr 21, 2005 6:49PM


Tony Coppoletta, who Chicagoist met at a party and found to be super nice, has created a site,, to help keep you informed on the CTA budget crisis. The information he's collected here is astounding, it definately makes up for the lack of organized, easy-to-find information coming out of the CTA. Also, the FAQ is great and there are some good suggestions on what you can do.

Tony tells Chicagoist the reason he created the site:

I felt it was important for the public to become informed on this topic and that there was too little information available for people to find and easily read. CTA saying it is met with skepticism, and there's too much negative stuff in the press right now about the agency.

It's easy to hate CTA for every time our bus was late and the system seemed unreliable, but it's difficult to really parse through all the numbers and figure out what's relevant. I like to think I've done that for Chicagoans who just don't understand why we're on the verge of an urban disaster.

More of Tony's insight after the jump. And make sure to bookmark to check back for updates.

Tony goes on to say:

We've found for too long that the public just doesn't understand much about the funding formula, why CTA is at the point of crisis it is, and that it really is a systemic problem that has dated back for twenty years that hurts Metra and Pace, and the ability for Chicago to survive.

Chicago's public transportation system is extremely important to the ability for Chicago to sustain itself as a world-class city, one with its own unique, diverse, and immensely urban culture. Chicago today attracts businesses, new workforce talent, and creative culture, all of which makes the regional economy able to exist as it does. It's a marvelous city with an invigorating history to explore.

With a budget that is effectively shrinking by millions per year, a formula that not once since it was designed in 1983 was it ever able to fund CTA, skyrocketing unassisted costs for paratransit coming out of the operating budget, and lost funds never anticipated by the current funding formula, an unbalanced system for collecting taxes (the only one out of the top 25 transit-using cities in the US and Canada), despite more than $760 million in savings since 1997, the core of all transportation in the Chicago area is now endangered, and suburban transit isn't far behind as they face similar funding problems.

Also particularly concerning to us is that many people don't understand the benefits of transit even if they never use it. Transit makes our roads passable, enables the city to grow with density and for the region to expand to the collar counties and still be able to conveniently move around, by car, by bus, or by train.

We want people to know how important this is in hopes of rallying the people behind the cause for a new RTA collection and funding formula, because it benefits everyone in the region. A good transportation system, especially in the core city, is absolutely essential for this region to stay alive. We fear that without proper support for public transit, it simply will not be able to remain the shining city that it is.