News catch-up: CTA lobbyists; new rail cars go Orange

The CTA has spent about $4.2 million on state and federal lobbyists since 2004, according to a Daily Herald report. In 2009 alone the CTA spent $820,000 on seven lobbying firms. A CTA official told the Daily Herald:

"It is worth this level of expense to engage experts in the areas of
legislative and grant-making processes. All of our lobbyists are highly
skilled and can be attributed with helping maintain the levels of
funding we get today."
To determine a true cost-benefit analysis on lobbyists, you would have to look at their reports to the transit agencies about what they have done to earn their pay. But the newspaper's request for that information was denied. And that's just not right.

Just in time for Halloween. The new Series 5000 rail cars have moved to the Orange Line this week. So far the prototype rail cars have been test on half of the eight rail lines: Red, Green, Blue and now Orange. From the CTA website:

"The prototype rail cars will continue to undergo in-service testing
under real-world conditions on all eight CTA rail lines throughout the
year to ensure that all other components are operating properly and to
make adjustments if needed.

"The rail cars must successfully complete testing before CTA will authorize the delivery of the remaining 396 rail cars."

Read my what I love and what I hate about the new rail cars.


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  • I think a couple of months ago I tilted with someone who claimed that the lobbying had a cost-benefit advantage. I see that you note here that such information was not forthcoming.

    There might be a point to lobbying for competitive federal grants (although this area hasn't been too competitive), but using state taxpayer money to lobby the state doesn't seem to make sense.

    Ed's point brings up an interesting speculation: do they test them now on the Orange to see if the existing signals beep them down to 6 mph, or, if it is ever fixed, will they have to retest them to see that they don't derail at 55 or do recognize the fixed signals?

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