With the CTA about to potentially feel a big budget hit in state funding, the transit agency and its parent Regional Transportation Authority teamed with Illinois reps and senators to call on Congress to provide consistent long-term funding for transit.
From the release:
[The April 9 news conference] focused on Move Ahead for Progress in the 21stCentury Act (MAP- 21), which expires on May 31, and the Highway Trust Fund, which will start teetering on insolvency this summer. The region’s transit system, like others around the country, relies on important federal funds to keep its transportation system in working order.
Without ... federal assistance, the region may not be able to make the capital investments required to meet its growing transit needs. The RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace have taken action to address this capital shortfall on their own, issuing bonds, pursuing other financing tools, implementing fare increases and instituting operational efficiencies. While these actions have offered some support, the magnitude of this challenge makes it impossible for these actions alone to sufficiently address the problem.
The RTA has determined that the region’s capital needs as of 2013 were $33.4 billion. That number can be divided into two categories:
- First is the region’s State of Good Repair (SGR) backlog—or what it would take to “catch up” and fund the unmet needs that have accumulated over time—which is $20 billion. This $20 billion SGR backlog is made up of deferred investments in asset rehabilitation, replacement and annual capital maintenance.
- The second category, the transit region’s ten-year capital needs (made up of normal replacement, rehabilitation and capital maintenance) totals $13.4 billion.
Also looming in the near future for the CTA is a possible cut in state funding of $130 million, or 45 percent of what the state currently funds.
Both the state and feds need to realize the importance of investing in public transportation and provide the needed funds to both operate currently, and to invest in future expansion.
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