Local politician and transit advocates were dreaming big last week at the launch of the Transit Future campaign.
The transit advocates - the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and the Active Transportation Alliance - were joined by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane at the launch of Transit Future.
Transit Future calls on the Cook County Board of Commissioners to adopt a robust revenue stream to fund the improvement and expansion of Chicago and Cook County’s transit system. A new revenue source will allow the County to take advantage of America Fast Forward and other financing tools at the federal level.
Inspiration for Transit Future comes from California, where voters in Los Angeles County approved a half-cent sales tax increase to fund $40 billion in new and expanded transit. Imagine that - voters actually approving such an extra tax just to fund mass transit improvements. That's something I'd like to see happen in m lifetime.
The Transit Future campaign imagines connecting the spokes of our current system with its hub downtown. Scroll through the interactive graphic to "meet the transit lines that could transform Chicago."
The TF campaign suggests that the "Cook County Board of Commissioners can create a robust revenue stream to fund the construction of these new train and bus lines. This local revenue will open the door to federal and other financing tools that will pay for the rest."
I love the idea of getting the Cook County Board more involved in the funding. And that fact that Cook County Board President Preckwinkle was there and lent her support is big:
"This is not just about investing in transit for transit’s sake, it’s about helping people move around the region – to jobs, to school, to opportunities. Cook County should be a leader in developing transportation systems that drive a modern, sustainable, and equitable economy. My administration is committed to assuming that leadership role."
Let's remember those words and hold her to them.