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General Assembly to Take Another Crack at Saving the CTA

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 7, 2007 2:30PM

Just as a cloud of gloom began to set in over the carless masses of Chicago, a ray of hope came as the State Senate has been called into session on Monday. While a spokesman for Senate President Emil Jones would only say that the session would include discussion of the "transit issue," Sen. John Cullerton, (D-Chicago) told Crain's that he thinks they are going to take up the same bill that Julie Hamos was forced to table earlier this week. “It puts pressure on the House to do something. We can’t just sit around and do nothing,” he said. Neither house was scheduled to meet prior to Monday's session.

2007_9_brokedown.jpgIt's not all sunshine and lollipops for Chicago commuters, however, as the Monday session is expected to include discussion of a capital funding plan for construction projects around the state, which House Republican leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) has indicated is the only way that his group will support funding mass transit in the region. That discussion is expected to include a gambling expansion in the state — something that has been contentious and undoable thus far — which would put a mega-casino in Chicago and allow two more in the state. Daley has been interested in a Chicago casino for years now, but House Speaker Mike Madigan says that there isn't support for it in the House.

So here we are, ten days to the collapse of the CTA, and the General Assembly is still playing games with who can be the baddest bad-ass. Madigan is trying to wrestle Julie Hamos' bill through the House, and Tom Cross wants more money for roads, saying suburban commuters are "sick and tired of sitting in traffic." Rod Blagojevich is opposing the tax increase, calling it a backdoor fare hike and a "tax on working families for transportation." None of which will much matter on September 17, when hundreds of thousands of Tom Cross' suburbanite constituents that come into Chicago everyday to work for a living have to slog through the commuter disaster that is about to befall all of us. And if Blagojevich thinks that working families will be rejoicing over their sales tax savings when they can't even get around their own city, well, we have to wonder what he's been smoking.

We've about had it with all of this nonsense. We have to wonder how elected officials in Chicago didn't know that this was coming years ago — certainly dire situations like this one don't emerge out of the blue. If we have to live in a one-party state, the least the leaders can do is make sure that it works for the rest of us.

Image via TheeErin.