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Senior Free Ride Issue Stagnates in the Senate

By Prescott Carlson in News on Oct 30, 2009 7:20PM

Photo by Brian Hagy
Know that bill that would have restricted the free senior citizen transit rides to only the truly needy? It's dead in the water. The Illinois State Senate, apparently intimidated by old people calling their offices and shaking their canes at them, refused to even call the bill up for a vote. And without the vote, the bill gets buried. Senator Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) admitted that the "seniors are the ones who really carried the ball" on getting the measure quashed, and, as Hendon added, he was "pretty sure" that Govenor Pat Quinn would have vetoed the bill if it passed, anyway. A representative for Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said that it didn't seem that the bill had enough support to pass into law.

Quinn had previously given the bill consideration, saying:

“If there’s a review and it finds the program should be based on ability to pay, that low-income seniors and definitely veterans and also our military personnel receive a break with respect to public transit, I think that’s where we’re headed."

If the bill had somehow passed, it could have saved the CTA as much as $37 million.