Here's hoping small capital spending bill is just a start

The state legislature last week voted to give the CTA about half of the $1.8 billion it approved in another "mini" capital spending bill. And while $900 million is nothing to sneeze at, the measure funded mostly by sin taxes would just "prevent the system from getting worse," says Brian Imus, director of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

And Gov. Quinn hasn't even signed the bill yet, so it's not a done deal till then. The money is not enough to fund expansions of service such as the Red Line south to 130th Street, or the Orange Line extension to Ford City Mall. PIRG last week issued a press release and report about the fate of public transit projects.

Meetings on Red Line extension. And speaking of the Red Line extension, public meetings will be held tonight next Wednesday, June 3, and Thursday, June 4, both from 6 to 8 pm. Wednesday's meeting is slated for the Olive-Harvey College Cafeteria, 10001 South Woodlawn in Chicago. Thursday's will be at the Woodson Regional Library, 9525 South Halsted in Chicago.

At the meetings, the CTA "will receive input on the latest analysis and a recommended locally preferred
alternative for the CTA's proposed extension of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red
Line from 95th Street."

See the continuation for how the capital bill will be funded by additional (mostly) sin taxes.

  • Vehicle Title/Transfer Fees: $114.5 million
  • Driver's License Fees: 40.6 million
  • Vehicle Registration Fee: 176.0 million
  • Sales Tax on Candy/
    and Beauty Aids/Beverages: 150.0 million
  • Liquor Tax Increase: 113.7 million
  • Lottery Improvements: 150.0 million
  • Video Gaming: 375.0 million

TOTAL: $1.119.0 billion

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  • Can you get the news feeds and pictures up on the right side again? I always enjoyed that content as well.

  • It isn't clear that this is another mini capital bill, especially given your link to the Tribune.

    It looks more like it is the $23-25-26 or whatever billion capital bill, with the video poker and all that. However, instead of transit getting $1 billion of the $3 billion mini capital bill, it appears to get only $3 billion of this one.

    Of course, the Tribune had reported, but not followed up, on Quinn not signing off on the bonds for transit authorized by the mini capital bill. And there apparently is never transparency on what is in the bills, what are the earmarks, and on what the transit authorities intend to spend the money.

    As far as the Red Line, etc. extensions, those are supposed to be federal New Starts, although, if they ever get out of the consultant stage and actually are approved by the federal government, they probably will need a 50% match.

    I'm becoming tired of trying to read the tea leaves on these things (especially since New Flyer announced exercised options and contracts months before the CTA claimed to have the money to fund them, and, miraculously, stimulus money was enough to cover the exercised options).

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