The CTA is facing $35 million in service cuts due to a sharp reduction in tax revenues caused by the recession, the Tribune reports. CTA President Richard Rodriguez told the RTA “that riders could expect roughly a 5 percent reduction in service for each $10 million in new funding cuts,” according to the news report.
Ouch. Now this could really hurt. More from the report:
Rodriguez issued a statement to the Tribune on Tuesday saying: “The CTA will continue to look out for the interests of our customers as we deal with the newest budget reduction proposed by the RTA. We assume the RTA applied the same financial diligence they expect of us to themselves and the other service boards.”
Just last month, the CTA filled a $155 million budget hole for this year primarily by transferring cash originally earmarked for station fixups and new buses. The agency also found $15.3 million in internal cuts.
In a CTA Tattler interview Tuesday — before we knew the severity of these latest cuts — CTA President Rodriguez indicated that he would consider shifting some federal stimulus dollars earmarked for station fixups to plug any future budget holes. Currently, $14.4 million in in stimulus dollars are set aside [pdf] for rehabbing Cermak and Logan Square stations.
But he warned there’s a big price to be paid for this cost shifting: “The more we delay this (capital and repair) work, the worse our system becomes.”
One move I predict we won’t see is for the legislature to repeal free rides for senior citizens — even though that one gesture would cover this $35 million gap. You see, it’s very simple — senior citizens vote.