Here We Go Again
By Jocelyn Geboy in Miscellaneous on May 8, 2007 7:15PM
Last Thursday, the Regional Transportation Authori-tay (RTA) told Metra, Pace and CTA to start preparing emergency budgets to take effect July 1 due to a $226 million deficit in the big picture of the RTA. Springfield needs to help out or the Chicagoland area is getting some more salt in the public transportation wounds that have been inflicted with deteriorating infrastructures, higher fares and delays caused by massive renovations.
The Daily Southtown article quoted RTA executive director Steve Schlickman on the situation. He was was pretty effin' blunt. He said "riders should start to expect more expensive trips on buses and trains that are prone to breaking down and run less frequently." And he notes that if more commuters drive, the expressways will be even more clogged and will cause more pollution. Global warming, anyone? Then, Schlickman lays on a guilt trip better than our mother ever could with this one -- "We have to look at ourselves and ask, 'Are we world-class?' " he said. "Maybe we don't deserve the Olympics." Ooooooh. That's a hell of a one-two-three punch.
The RTA has warned lawmakers for over a year that 2007 was going to be the tipping point for budget crunch fuckdom. They want an increase of $400 million in annual operating expenses and $10 billion to expand service over the next five years. However, Gov. Blah Blah wants his plan to increase business taxes to boost health care to come first. You know, that would be all well and good if we thought we were getting free health care out of the deal. Since we're not thinking that's the case, we want to make sure we can still get around the city.
Secondarily, our compatriots in the RTA, the suburbanites who use Metra and Pace, don't really seem to give a shit. They think this money thing is all about bailing out CTA. They don't think they're going to get dicked if the money doesn't come through. They don't realize that Metra has used maintenance money to operate the place for the last three years. "Metra chief Phil Pagano said the crisis is reminiscent of the early 1980s, when transit was so underfunded, passengers could see the tracks below rickety floorboards."
The last time the state's formula to fund transit in the Chicago area was changed came in 1983. Let's do an update! We don't know about you, but we can't afford another fare hike. And service cuts? Uh, no. Sigh. Maybe we really will get a-crackin' on the bike.
"cta -- three track" by geekgrrl++