CTA's Claypool: "Policymakers have disinvested in public transit"

CTA President Forrest Claypool called a spade a spade during Wednesday's board meeting: "Policymakers have disinvested in public transit, and yet we know that
public transit is wealth-producing, job-producing, revenue-producing,''

Here's hoping he's not showing his cards too early and and doesn't get trumped by the Illinois Legislature, whom he may need later to help balance the 2012 budget.

My full-time job prevented me from covering the board meeting, but the Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch wrote a full report, including this gem of a quote:

Despite the positive role of transit in making neighborhoods and
commercial areas more valuable, the amount of public subsidies the CTA
receives is "subject to the discretion of the appropriators in
Springfield rather than (being) automatic,'' he said.

"It's really
perverse economics. But it is the economics that has governed transit,
not just here in Chicago but in other large urban areas,'' Claypool


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  • 1. Maybe Claypool can talk to his neighbor Cullerton and convince him to repeal the unconstitutional 2009 capital bill and pass a real one. The 2009 one isn't going to get out of litigation soon, and the state can't sell bonds until it does.

    2. Maybe Claypool's boss (and I don't mean Terry Peterson) can talk to his former colleagues in the White House and Congress, since Claypool himself didn't get anything done.

    3. Maybe Claypool is getting ready for another "Moving Beyond Congestion," I mean another tax hike campaign. That's the only way that the CTA cooperates with the RTA or vice versa. The last one really solved our problems. Sure.

    4. Maybe Claypool should think about using capital money more efficiently, such as building something as opposed to paying consultants.

    In related news, Car and Driver had a report, basically saying that Congress's inability to pass a new transportation authorization bill (instead of just extending SAFETEA-LU, which despite what the author and the preamble of that law say, means nothing, IMO) isn't doing much for fixing crumbling portions of the highway system, and that part has the same allocation problems as transit--funding formulas, TIGER, and earmarks. Of course, I know that your readers aren't interested in that, but it just shows that the feds are all fouled up with regard to all aspects of transportation.

    Finally, apparently Claypool let go Ron's and Rod's PowerPoint staff.

  • I am just one person (well, two if you count my partner), so take this for what it is worth. Claypool, like him or not, is telling the truth. And that is probably the main reason that my partner and I, after she finishes an education that will lead to a very high paying job, will likely leave Chicago. It just gets more difficult here to NOT have a car. While we love NOT having a car, and walking or taking CTA every where we go, there comes a point where the declining service just gets to be too much. Yeah, even NYC is cutting back on MTA, thanks to similar short-sighted attitudes from state lawmakers (not to let the feds off the hook either). But we selected Chicago because it is Midwest, and in very large part because of the dim CTA prospects, we are likely to live in a mid-size Midwestern town when she finishes her degree. Sure, we'll need a car then, but at least owning a car in cities outside of Chicago isn't such an absurd and expensive situation. See: Not paying enough attention to mass transit can play a part in driving at least some potentially high earners out of this city and, most likely, state.

  • In reply to vise77:

    You may have a point. Combine the system falling apart with the reports of rampant crime (yesterday a robbery at the Chicago-Franklin station, and a robbery gang picked up on the #12 bus) and the boors chronicled here, maybe CTA won't have any paying passengers soon.

  • In reply to vise77:

    Where does Claypool live that makes Cullerton his neighbor?

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Claypool's "business" was listed on the 4000 block of N. Ravenswood Ave. Cullerton reportedly lives in Ravenswood Manor, like our former governor who was in the dock, and the 6th District office is at 4237 N. Lincoln, according to Cullerton's official site.

    For that matter, the Illinois Supreme Court case and Google indicate that Emanuel's legal residence address is on the 4200 block of North Hermitage.

    So, if that isn't close enough for you, I don't know what is. None of these people live on the south side.

  • In reply to jack:

    Ravenswood Av is a few blocks west of Ashland. The Manor starts west of the river, basically California Av.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I misinterpreted your use of the word 'neighbor.' I thought you meant Claypool lived in Ravenswood Manor.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Besides, this question is a distraction. Why don't you address the real issue, that Cullerton is relying on a bill that, at the least, cannot become effective until a final decision on its constitutionality, or more likely, unconstitutionality is made by the Illinois Supreme Court. Quinn said that the bill was "jobs now," but it is two years later.

    However, I remember that you support Quinn.

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