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RTA To Riders: No Fee Increases Planned Despite Budget Woes

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jun 26, 2015 6:50PM

Photo credit: Stephanie Barto

At Thursday's meeting of the Regional Transportation Agency's board of directors, the board assured riders that the agency had no immediate plans to raise fees despite the looming government shutdown.

As the budget impasse in Springfield rolls on and on, with Gov. Bruce Rauner most recently vetoing a budget from the Democrat-controlled legislature on Thursday, local services that rely on state funding have started to plan for a possible shutdown.

RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden, who oversees the CTA, Metra and Pace public transportation systems, seemed unfazed by these developments. She announced on Thursday that, because the state of Illinois is five months late in paying $271.5 million in matching funds to the RTA, the agency can still expect some money to flow in from the state in the coming months according to CBS.

While normally the agency would lament the missing funds, in this case it comes as a blessing in disguise. According to Redden, the state will pay this money out of the 2015 budget, meaning a government shutdown will not immediately affect Chicago area commuters.

"At this point, for the foreseeable few months, the buses and trains will still keep running," she said at the Thursday meeting. "The capital conversation might be a bit different, but buses and trains will still keep running."

RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard, a former Republican legislator, said he believes budget issues will be resolved long before November arrives, CBS reports.

So unless something dramatic happens down in Springfield, your daily commute won't immediately be negatively impacted, should Rauner drives us all off a budgetary cliff next week.