News pickup: RTA chief wants CTA budget update

Here are a few items of note from the last week:

RTA asks for budget update. RTA Executive Director Joseph Costello is looking for some answers from CTA President Forrest Claypool on the progress he's making to balance the budget this year, the Sun-Times reports. As you may recall, Claypool submitted and got approval for a budget that was technically $80 million in the red. He said he planned to close that gap by negotiating work rule changes, health care reform and restraint in wage growth. Costello has requested a meeting with Claypool for sometime next week to hear how that's going. We'd like to know too! So stay tuned.

Bus Tracker helps keep students safe. Students at 35 highs schools throughout the city are monitoring Bus Tracker screens inside school to reduce the amount of time they have to spend on adjacent crime-ridden streets. Check out the CBS2 story about Phillips High School, where there have been 74 violent incidents this year.

Second Yellow Line station at Asbury? A study by the city of Evanston CTA study recommends building another new Yellow Line station at Asbury Avenue in Evanston. But there's that little problem of funding. Read the Tribune update.

 

 

 

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • You know from before that I don't believe anything Karen Walker has in the monthly financial report. But according to her report submitted in April, CTA ran a surplus of $6.7 million through February. If you believe her, that means that $40 million of the annual deficit is gone already.

    Maybe related to the point that Davis rose, and I also did with regard to whether Free Rides for Seniors resulted in uncollected fares of $30 million or $7 million as stated in the 2012 budget, she says:

    Free rides totaled 5.1 million for the month and 10.0 million for the year. This was 0.1 million less than February 2011 and 0.8 million less for the year to date. ... In September 2011, the free ride program for seniors was modified to subject the participants to a means test.

    That means that even though the RTA said that 75% of the seniors lost free rides and were given half fare cards because they didn't match the circuit breaker list, the number of free rides after the cutdown is virtually unchanged.

    So, no matter what budget update the RTA will actually get, it sure appears that someone is cooking the numbers.

    And since Claypool previously said that Costello was his good friend, I don't expect anything out of the RTA.

    Maybe they can bring in the comptroller of Dixon, Il. to audit the CTA. Oh, I forgot, she's in federal detention.

  • In reply to jack:

    Sorry Jack, but the Dixon comptroller is available, she's allowed to travel around Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin.
    Why, all sensible people would ask?
    I think she's allowed to go to her horse farms. Which makes no sense since she stole the money to buy & maintain those same horse farms!
    Completely insane federal judge that went for her newest scam, bail!

    On an aside, I saw a Nova on the 155 at Devon & Ravenswood, WB at about 5:00PM Thursday. Didn't get the number & couldn't see the decal with the garage in the front window.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    On the first one, I'm not sure how it is on point here, except that she might be available, but supposedly you aren't allowed to use money you stole to post bail.

    On the aside, NP got some Novas when Archer closed. The explanation, at the time given on chicagobus.org was that they had the traffic signal preemption equipment needed on 49 Western, which is now split between NP and 74, sort of like when it was split in the 1970s. Then their weird bus sightings thread has them showing up on other NP routes, such as 22, on a sporadic basis.

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