The CTA has played the opening gambit in what could be a long chess game. There's still much more chess to be played. This game is not over.
For openers, the CTA announced last week that it had found $122 million of the $300 million needed to plug the 2010 budget gap. Then Monday, the CTA announced a big fare increase and cuts in service hours, scheduled to take effect Feb. 7, 2010.
Now the fun begins.
The CTA has clearly stated it wants its operator and other unions to come to the table to negotiate wage cuts. The CTA has announced 1,000 union layoffs due to cuts in service hours. But it says some or all of those jobs could be saved if the union is willing to talk.
So that's Option 1.
Option 2 is repealing free rides, which the CTA says will cost $65 million next year. Mayor Daley put that option on the table in his commentsTuesday. Unfortunately, Dalye ran into a brick wall on that one named Gov. Pat Quinn. He supports those free rides. And this is an election year after. So that may not be a realistic option.
Still, I really don't think the budget announced Monday is the last word. Just the fast that it doesn't go into effect till February tells me the CTA is trying to buy some time to negotiate.
So yes, time is on our side. It's time to tell the CTA and the state what we think of this budget. Click the continuation for information on public hearings starting Oct. 29.
Copied straight from the CTA Web site:
The Chicago Transit Board will consider the proposed budget at its
November meeting. It will also be presented to the Cook County Board
in November, as required by the RTA Act. The Chicago Transit Board
must submit a balanced budget to the RTA by November 15th and the RTA
must approve budgets for the service boards by year end.
CTA customers and the general public will have the opportunity to
provide comments to the Chicago Transit Board on the President's 2010
Budget Recommendations at three budget meetings. All are scheduled for
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Austin Town Hall
5610 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60644
Monday, November 2, 2009
Lane Technical High School
2501 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60618
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
South Shore Cultural Center
7059 South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60649
Written and oral comments will be taken into consideration prior to
the Chicago Transit Board's approval of the 2010 Budget and Program,
the 2010 Capital Program of Projects, and the Financial Plan. This
input will be welcomed at the meetings or by correspondence addressed
to Gregory P. Longhini, Assistant Secretary of the Board, Chicago
Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, Illinois 60680-7567. Input
also can be sent via e-mail to: Greg Longini.
The deadline to submit written comments is November 10, 2009.
The proposed budget is available for public review at the CTA's
General Office, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661, second
floor, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Regular and large print
copies are also available at this location. Copies will also be
available at the main office of the Regional Transportation Authority,
reception desk, Suite 1550, 175 W. Jackson, Chicago, Illinois 60604. A
copy of the proposed budget is also posted here on the CTA's web site..