The CTA year in the review, Q1: Fare hike, new prez, budget problems

This week I take a look at CTA in the news in 2009. Today, we review the first quarter of the year.

January: The month starts with a bang and a fare increase of
from 13% to 61%, depending on your rider
profile
. And January ended with a vacancy at the top for the CTA, as Mayor
Daley moved
Ron Huberman
from CTA chief to schools chief.

February: The CTA was salivating in early February over the
prospect of getting
federal stimulus funds
to fix slow zones and buy buses. We also heard about
CTA
budget shortfalls
for the first time this year. And this news led to finger-pointing
between the CTA and RTA. We also learned about 226 NABI
articulated buses being pulled off the streets
. Near the end of February we
learned
the CTA was in line for $283 million in federal stimulus funding. Richard
Rodriguez was
named
the new CTA president. And the CTA announced Bus Tracker would
include links
to service alerts
. The shortest month was a busy news month.

March: The month opened with Republican legislators trying
to repeal
free rides for seniors. We learned
the details
on $240 million for the CTA in stimulus funding. The CTA floated
ideas
on how to fill $80 million of it $155 million budget gap. My
post
on the Guardian Angels "assault" on an alleged tagger garnered much
attention from commenters.

Comments

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  • However, this year in review will have to wait a couple of years until the revisionists massage it. Given prior posts by some commenters to the Tattler, in a couple of years we will hear that the pulling of the NABIs in March 2009 was another farsighted decision by Frank Kruesi, the implementation of which was delayed.

  • In reply to jack:

    Also keep this item in reserve for 1Q 2010: "Richard Rodriguez brought us an all low floor bus fleet."

    Note, however, that the fair and balanced people won't tell us that that is because he cut service and retired 287 buses without replacement.

    Of course, the high floor fleet won't be retired if that budget is amended. So, I'm giving Richard kudos before its time.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack wrote: "However, this year in review will have to wait a couple of years until the revisionists massage it."

    Actually, you're the revisionist, Jack, denying Kruesi credit for anything good that happened during his tenure, as though he was an innocent bystander, while seeing his bloody fingerprints on anything bad. All that's been asked in those "prior posts" is that he get the credit for both good and bad, i.e. a balanced assessment of his record. But for some, that's obviously too much to ask.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack wrote: "However, this year in review will have to wait a couple of years until the revisionists massage it."

    Actually, you're the revisionist, Jack, denying Kruesi credit for anything good that happened during his tenure, as though he was an innocent bystander, while seeing his bloody fingerprints on anything bad. All that's been asked in those "prior posts" is that he get the credit for both good and bad, i.e. a balanced assessment of his record. But for some, that's obviously too much to ask.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Since you are so insistent on a balanced approach, joe, tell us when wastes of money I described go beyond the purview of "controversial." In fact, if you are so balanced, why don't you tell us what Kruesi did wrong?

    In fact are you the same "joe the chicagoan" who also posted in the Sun-Times that what Kruesi did was controversial, and not as bad as some other poster said, until that poster demolished you with information about the pension plan?

    Also are you the same joe001 who posted in a Tribune forum that anyone who didn't share your view of democracy in Cook County must be a recent immigrant?

    Finally, joe, why is it so important to you that we must all have a balanced view of Kruesi? Are you a relative, or part of the Daley administration trying to pave his comeback? I doubt that there is any of the latter.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I forgot to ask if you were also the same joe001 who posted in a Tribune forum that someone named Evanston123 must have been talking about Pace, rather than CTA, but later said in this forum that Evanston should be paying the CTA?

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Jack wrote: "In fact, if you are so balanced, why don't you tell us what Kruesi did wrong?"

    No need, Jack, since you seem obsessed with it and use every opportunity to slam him. And I've already expressed some of the things Kruesi did well, which you either ignored or suggested he didn't deserve the credit. A balanced view requires acknowledging the good and the bad, the successes and the failures. But I don't
    expect you to understand that, since you have some type of ax to grind.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    But apparently you are exempt from your own standard of fairness, and also answering the other questions.

    My only purpose is to set the record straight, when apologists try to muddy it. You took the bait of the first two posts, and since you can't acknowledge that Kreusi did more that be "controversial," you certainly aren't balanced, either (or about as balanced as Fox News when it allows one liberal on a panel with 4 conservatives).

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Jack, I hope you're not holding YOURSELF out as balanced, since you can't acknowledge that Kruesi did anything positive. With you around, no one needs me to point out the problems CTA had--balance is making sure both sides are represented. I understand this is a very difficult concept for you, but you might want to give it a try. You asked why balance is important? Because fairness requires that any public official's record be assessed in its entirely, the good with the bad, the successes and the failures. To say Kruesi had no successes is to be blindly unfair.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I didn't say he had no success. Apparently getting the Pink Line done in time was a success. But you can't acknowledge any of his myriad failures (nor your disingenuousness on these boards) and only chalk them up to "being controversial." When you do, maybe the rest of us will take you seriously.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Not just getting the Pink Line done on time, but getting it done at all, including his obtaining the federal funding needed to save that train branch. And making the Brown Line accessible to people with disabilities. And increasing ridership almost every year of his tenure at a time when the CTA had less and less spending power due to the outdated RTA funding formula. And implementing the Bustracker program, one of the most popular initiatives the CTA has ever had. Only when you balance these accomplishments with the "myriad failures" you joyfully recount can a balanced picture of his tenure be realized. Like any public official, he deserves to be judged on his entire record, not just the failures you assert.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Are you now admitting the failures, too? Or that the only way he achieved a 100% accessible fleet was by his minions "conditionally accepting" buses they knew were defective, and (applying history) had to be removed from service? Or that 97% of the implementation of Bus Tracker was under Huberman?

    Until you acknowledge the whole story, you are an apologist, sort of like Todd Stroger saying that he had a balanced budget, but omitting that he had the County Board raise sales taxes 4 times higher than what was needed, damaging business in Cook County.

    And like those who defend Stroger, you still haven't disclosed you interest in defending Kruesi. I'm sure it has nothing to do with fairness. I suppose you are fair to all the Daley employees who were sentenced to jail, too, like Sorich. I suppose he kept the water running and the streets plowed.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Hmmm, I must have missed the posting where you disclose your interest in bashing Kruesi at every opportunity. Such as ignoring the fact that Kruesi was still there when the contracts were issued to implement Bustracker on all CTA buses, even if Huberman was president when much of it was actually installed.

    My defending Kruesi has everything to do with fairness and I do not defend public officials who commit crimes (nice false analogy there, Jack). But since you don't even pretend to be fair, and so are unfit to lecture anyone else about fairness.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Since you have exposed yourself to everyone but yourself, I'll say goodbye. Maybe someday you will think about what you post.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Awww bummer! You mean it's over? I've been enjoying this!

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