CTA President Forrest Claypool has completed two-plus weeks on his new job. I heard he'll be in Washington, D.C., this week to talk about CTA capital funding needs for new projects such as the Red Line extension and for basic maintenance for the rail lines.
Sounds like the perfect time to restart the conversation on ideas to fix public transit. For today's edition, I shamelessly reprint the "recipe" of a longtime transit watcher and former RTA spokesperson, Chris Robling. Given his former job, his ideas are rather RTA-centric. But I agree with many of them - especially the overall theme that there should be better coordination and oversight by the agency that calls itself the Regional Transportation Authority.
I first came across Robling's ideas at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's panel discussion on Chicago transit. He was one of the panelists. See Robling's bio at the end of the post. Now read and discuss his ideas.
"Recipe for Better Chi-town Transit"
By Chris Robling
1. Make the RTA a real RTA - consolidate the Tollway, IDOT Division 1, the Dept. of Aviation, the Illinois International Port District/Port of Chicago, etc., into the RTA.
2. Fold Pace into Metra.
3. Give the RTA hire / fire over all service board executive directors.
4. Adopt the following new RTA mission statement:
"We, the new
RTA, are her to put service on the street. Transportation is
Chicagoland's first advantage. We will exploit it to thr n-th degree. We
will do so in transit, commercial aviation, shipping and surface
transportation at the least possible cost for the greatest possible
benefit for the region, economy and economic future all of us, and our
kids, share. Let's get moving."
5. Adopt stringent management standard for all service boards.
6. Fire errant agency chiefs whenever needed. Preferably at dawn in Grant Park with the media present.
7. Amalgamate revenues and capital needs. Plan accordingly.
8. Advocate capital source. Take harsh measures 'till the General Assembly acts.
9. Try like heck to keep up with the growing regions of the world.
Bio of Robling via Medill Reports:
Robling, a principal at Jayne Thompson & Associates and a longtime
transit commentator. He first got involved in transportation in the
1980s and later spent five years as the director of communications for
the RTA. In 2007 he was appointed to the Suburban Transportation
Commission by former U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park, and Congresswoman
Melissa Bean, D-Barrington.