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New Life For Free Senior Ride Cuts

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 6, 2010 5:40PM

Photo by TheeErin
Just weeks after the last try was shot down, a new attempt to alter the law allowing free transportation rides for seniors is back in the state legislature. The bill, which passed the state Senate yesterday, would limit free rides to single seniors making less than $41,000 and couples making less than $55,000. With estimates of lost revenue from the current bill as high as $60 million, the new cuts would save the RTA $35 million, which we suppose is better than nothing. The bill previously voted down set a rather reasonable threshold for single seniors who make less than $27,610 a year or couples who make less than $34,635 a year. The bill would expire in two years, allowing the state legislature to evaluate results and decide if and how the law should be changed. We know plenty of people who make less than $41,000 who can afford CTA rides, but we're not state lawmakers.

After the 57-0 vote by the Senate, state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) said the new cuts would, "put the sad story of Rod Blagojevich away," referring to the way Blago held CTA funding hostage in exchange for the current free ride laws back in 2008. While the cuts will help funding, as long as the law stands in one form or another, that "sad story" will remain.