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We're Just at a Loss

By Jocelyn Geboy in Miscellaneous on Mar 16, 2007 6:08PM

You might remember that little incident on July 11, 2006, when the Blue Line train derailed, shutting off power and starting a fire? A CBS2 story reveals that 65 survivors (didn't everyone survive?) sued the CTA for negligence and that a judge determined that the CTA was at fault. However, the lawyers are now prevented from further investigating the accident.

“I suspect there are some significant, long-term ongoing problems down there,” attorney Dan Kotin said. Thanks for the heads-up, Dan. We had no clue. Our buddy, Frank (Kruesi, head of the CTA) also cops to some failures in the system in remarking, "There are areas that need the work and the work hasn't been scheduled yet or there is no money for the work,” he said.

2007_03ctamonster.jpgIs this a legit excuse? If we had a job and said, "Well, I really should have done that on time or I really should have added the appropriate materials — but I didn't." And we did it over and over and over again, mind you, we would be fired.

And yet Kruesi still has his job and is counting on the legislature to come up with $5 billion for an ambitious plan to update tracks, trains and towers. He said, "There's got to be funding for transit, it's got to happen this year or we're going to be shrinking the system.” Or ... we're just going to wait until the Olympics and then turn a totally dilapidated shithole into a grand people-moving machine to impress the Germans and the Chinese?

But the State legislature isn't really thinking that $5 billion is too doable. "Maybe Kruesi thinks we have a money printing machine downstairs,” said State Sen. Emil Jones (D-14th). Kruesi's response? People are going to switch to cars and clog the roads. Riiiiight. All of us who don't have cars are going to up and buy them. Grrrrrr.

More good news after the jump ...

"monster on the red line" via smussyolay.

Over at WBBM 780, there's more good news: Last week, the governor's budget message completely dissed the requested operating subsidy request and includes only $425 million to be shared by CTA, Metra and Pace. Niiiice.

The RTA's "Moving Beyond Congestion" strategic plan calls for an additional $400 million as well as $10 billion over five years in capital construction money ... but no provision was made in the state budget for a general infrastructure program.

The federal government doesn't give subsidies to big cities' transportation systems, but Kruesi would like to see more money come from Homeland Security. He said the CTA could use "tens of millions of dollars" more than the $12 million that Homeland Security has given the transit agency, which is being used "as quickly as possible" to install more security cameras on the el, and make video security cameras available to Chicago Police patrol officers through wireless means. (On their BlackBerries?)

Chicagoist would feel a lot more secure in our homeland if we were positive we weren't going to get stuck underground, the train we are on won't derail at any given time, and we are relatively positive there won't be a fire out of nowhere. Frankly, security cameras have never made us feel like someone will actually think not to commit a crime. It makes us feel better to get to our destination quickly and safely; criminals have less time to sit on the train with us getting bad ideas.