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"Hey, Neat - A Well-Run Transit System!"

By Karl Klockars in News on Aug 7, 2008 6:47PM

mayordaleybigbirdinchina080708.jpgAs Hizzonner continues his whirlwind tour of Beijing, the Trib* took us along for his little train-ride the other day. As it turns out, if you spend $7.7 billion on a transit system, it A) looks nice, B) operates well, and C) would be lovely to have in case an Olympic games somehow ends up in our neck of the woods. Oh, and if we want one, we're gonna have to pony up. Who knew.

One of the regular arguments for having the Games in Chicago is that we'll be forced to upgrade our trains and buses. Well, if we get what Beijing's got, we'll have:

  • Bright wide corridors on platforms
  • tickets purchased from bilingual touch-screen kiosks
  • wide train platforms
  • sliding glass doors to protect riders
  • jumbo-sized wider cars with seats against the windows
  • illuminated overhead route signs
  • TVs to broadcast the games
  • quality kickin' A/C
  • Unicorns and magical elves and rainbows spreading sunshine

How likely do you think that is? And how, you ask, would we pay for all these things, were we to give it a good shot at bringing them here? Answer: A capital spending plan with improvement cash for the CTA and RTA, as well as "look[ing] to the federal government for assistance." We'll take all the help we can get, but can we expect the state government to get its collective head out of its ass in the next 8 years?

*Hey, Kathy Bergen - nice use of the word "bowels" in your lede.