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CTA/RTA Talk Doomsday 2: The Doomsdayening

By Karl Klockars in News on Feb 20, 2009 8:15PM


It's not just cracks in CTA buses that have our public transit overlords worried today. Once again, even in the face of record ridership and fare increases, there's another big ol' pesky budget hole to fill. The Chicago Tribune has RTA Chief Jim Reilly and Executive Director Steve Schlickman looking at the RTA having a $58 Million hole, and the CTA with $87 million to make up.

What are their fingers crossed for? What's going to save us from utter public transportation doom and destruction? (Remember, there's no Rod Blagojevich this year to put together a "rescue" finance package and ram through any free rides for seniors.) The answer comes from the Chi-Town Daily News: A statewide gas tax.

Were a gas tax to go through, a potential $2.7 billion could be funneled through to the RTA, just under half of the $6 billion they say they really need. An 8-cent-per-gallon tax hike is working its way through the Illinois house currently, which would help fund public transit. The 19 cents we already pay on a gallon of gas currently only pays for road projects. Transportation taxes always face opposition from border counties and truck drivers - how long will it be until some enterprising Illinois legislator follows Ray Lahood's lead and calls for a mileage tax? Sure, the Obama administration put the federal kibosh on it, but that doesn't mean that thoughts aren't brewing on the state level...

"Waiting..." by trippchicago.