I had wondered recently how the CTA could release its budget without knowing the results of union negotiations. The CTA hopes to get $160 million from union talks via "anticipated work rule reforms, health care benefit changes and restraint in wage growth consistent with other metropolitan transit agencies," according to a press release.
Last week we reported that the CTA essentially got a $71 million windfall because it didn't need to budget that amount again in the 2012 budget for pension obligation bond debt service. And as Crain's noted, it will tap that money to balance the budget for the first half of the year while it negotiates: "Effectively, the $80 million gives the CTA six months to get the $160 million a year in concessions it wants from its employee unions."
So, now we'll just have to see if the CTA succeeds in getting those CTA givebacks to balance the budget in the second half of the year.