CTA's "superblock" folly

Tonight at 10 p.m. on Channel 2 News, Dennis Byrne discusses with Mike Parker the $300 million that the CTA tossed into the black hole of Block 37, also known as the "Superstation." Located in the heart of downtown, the station was supposed to provide express service to O'Hare Airport, but after spending all that money, the CTA has decided not to use it.

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  • As noted in the CTA Tattler, now on Chicago Now, not only did it not result in the express trains, it also resulted in the closing of the Washington/State station.

    It is pretty clear that the about $300 million was wasted on this job (I could go on for hours about Carole Brown's equivocal stance on this, but since she is gone...), but the real question is how much was:
    --developer money?
    --TIF money?
    --CTA money?

    I don't care about developer money, and less about TIF money, since Daley was going to blow it on something or the other, but to the extent CTA money was used (and it was), it was blown and is not available for other projects, about which CTA claims to have an unfunded $7 billion capital need. Throw in another $110 million for defective buses now sitting in the 77th and 103rd yards, and that's money that could have been spent elsewhere.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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