State finally funds CTA capital projects

The CTA got good news on a number of fronts in the last few days. Here's a wrap-up.

State finally coughs up some capital funding. Gov. Quinn on Thursday announced the CTA will get $253 million to fix slow zones on the Loop L, rehab the Green Line Ashland/63rd station, and begin repairs of crumbling Purple Line viaducts, among other projects. The funding is part of a total of $900 million for transit agencies authorized by the Legislature last year. But it took more than a year actually fund these transit projects, while funds for road repairs were issued right away.

Suburbanites support more transit investment.
The state Legislature ought to pay attention to the new Tribune poll, which shows a majority of suburbanites now support investing more in mass transit than in roads. This is welcome news, and somewhat surprising. Now we just need to see the Legislature follow through with more funding all around for mass transit.

CTA vending machines to sell magazines. The CTA is getting into the reading business by installing vending machines to sell magazines at a handful of train stations. The test project will earn the CTA a minimum of $500 per month per machine. I guess every dollar helps. But I really don't see many folks reading magazines on my Red Line commute.

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  • Since this came up elsewhere on Thursday, I commented in one of those places that Quinn got his photo op, although it was strange that he was complaining that his peeps in Englewood were making their own political statement.

    Hinz didn't say what percentage of the total of the two capital bills roads have already received, but this installment of transit's portion is a small percentage. In the mini-capital bill, which was supposed to stimulate the economy in 2009, CTA was appropriated $495,900,000 (PL 96-4). CTA got about half of that in this payment, not to mention nothing of the $900M appropriated in the 5-year capital bill (PL 96-35). Similar can be said for Metra and Pace.

    As far as suburbanites are in favor of more transit, the article was talking about "suburban trains and buses" and how suburbanites did not favor more of their money going to the CTA, at least in the past. So, if one thinks that the "Ask Carole" point (in the comment section, since deleted) that suburbanites should send their money to the CTA or Chicago will send air pollution in their direction is going to get more traction now than it did five years ago, I doubt it. One thing that the 2008 RTA Act proved (especially with regard to the RETT to bail out CTA pensions being imposed only in the city), is that suburban support is for stuff like the STAR Line, not for the Daley Transit Authority. So, if you are in favor of the former, jump aboard.

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