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The GA vs. The CTA: Round 3

By Scott Smith in News on Aug 3, 2005 6:07PM

The ongoing battles between the Illinois General Assembly and the CTA have once again hit the papers. After reading this article in the Sun-Times, we’re left with the same sinking 2005_08_03_boxing.jpgfeeling we get in our stomach whenever we attend a cockfight: no matter whom we root for, it just feels wrong.

On the one hand, you have Illinois Auditor General William Holland who insists that the CTA pick up the tab for an audit of the agency’s finances and operations. On the other, you have the CTA who is refusing to pay for the audit because they say they have no money even though CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown states that the CTA intends to pay for the audit so long as the Auditor General can give it a price tag.

Because no one can pass up a chance to kick a man when he’s down, state Representative John Fritchey of Chicago stated that the CTA should limit its grand plans (like the express line to O’Hare that no one seems to want or need) and take care of its general operations first. He also added "The CTA needs to tread very carefully with the General Assembly when it's likely not the last time they will come before us.” He then twirled the ends of his mustache and went to tie a damsel in distress to some railroad tracks.

Asking the CTA to pay for an audit when it’s broke is a little like trying to borrow money from your dog. Plus, the CTA just, paid $1.2 million dollars to AECOM Consult to look at ways to run the agency more efficiently. We’re still trying to sort through the AECOM report but it’s a little difficult since all the CTA has released is a cheesy PowerPoint (PDF) that’s rife with corporate speak (what’s an “extraboard”?). The focus of their report is mainly on outsourcing maintenance contracts, changes in union agreements and real estate management. Too bad we didn’t see anything about laying off a couple of their high-priced lawyers.