Old-time foes faced off on the Regional Transportation Authority board Friday in a dispute of almost $185 million in discretionary funding. It was the Chicago directors vs. their suburban counterparts, and it ended with no resolution.
The issue really came down to who should get $6 million. The CTA said it deserved to get 99 percent of the $185 million, while RTA staff had recommended it get 95 percent. Last year the CTA got just over 98 percent of the discretionary funds.
Former CTA Board Chair Carole Brown, a Chicago rep on the RTA, led the revolt and refused to agree to lower funding level. Since these budget decisions require a supermajority of votes, the voted failed 8-6. Two board members were absent.
The ultimate result is that the RTA failed to approve its overall budget goals before Friday's state deadline.
The RTA on Friday also announced a plan to fund $2.5 billion in capital transit projects. As a Crain's report explains it: "Under the proposal, the RTA would take one-third of the anticipated growth in its sales taxes over the next five years to pay for $2.5 billion in bonds — $500 million a year for each of five years." Because of the above dispute, there was no vote on this plan.
The bond revenue would be divided in roughly the same way the RTA divides is operating subsidy, with the CTA getting 56 percent, Metra 32 percent, and Pace 12 percent. About $291 million would be used to fund rebuilding of CTA tracks, including the south Red line, and $100 million to replace up to six CTA train stations, says Crain's.