While highways and schools haven gotten their share of a $31 billion capital program passed by the state last year, mass transit hasn't gotten squat. That's what Greg Hinz reminds us in a blog post this week.
The CTA is supposed to get about $900 million of $1.8 billion total set aside for it plus Metra and Pace. As Hinz reports:
IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig offers a variety of explanations as to
why straphangers so far have been left hanging. Things will change soon,
Local transit leaders, hoping that's true, are unwilling to go on the
record with their concerns, lest those birds in the bush fly away.
But overall, it's just a question of priorities. And, in Illinois,
roads are a higher priority than trains and buses. You'd think the
Republicans were in charge.
Do remember that when Mr. Quinn asks for your vote this November.
According to Mr. Hannig, part of the problem is that while roads are
funded by "dedicated" revenues -- gas taxes, license fees and the like --
transit projects get funded by general state revenues, like sales and
income taxes, which lately have been in the dumper.
Thus "cash flow" becomes a problem -- for transit. I guess the money that
goes for transit is a different color than the money that goes for
Then there's the fact that instead of giving money directly to the CTA
and Metra and Pace, the Legislature gave it to IDOT to administer.
Hannig did tell Hinz that millions of dollars in projects would be announced by the end of the year. Meanwhile, more mortar falls from broken-down viaducts. We transit users should no longer be considered second-class citizens.