CTA board Chairwoman Carole Brown is mad as hell, and she’s willing to tell you all about it. And she does in her report to the board this month about ADA paratransit funding.
The controversy started in July when the Pace board voted to use $12 million in capital funds to cover a $20 million budget shortfall for its paratransit services. The CTA supported that move, but opposed the RTA giving more of its scarce capital dollars — earmarked for CTA and Metra — so Pace could close the remaining $8 million gap.
Here’s some of Brown’s statement:
I cannot in good conscience support the diversion of scarce capital resources away from CTA when more capital dollars are greatly needed to maintain efficient mainline service and to upgrade facilities and vehicles so that disabled people in the region can have wider access to transit service. I want to reiterate that CTA supports full funding of ADA paratransit service so that no one in the disability community is left behind. We are simply requesting that Pace evaluate the use of their own operating and capital funds to cover this one time shortfall before taking scarce federal funds from CTA.
And she reiterated her position in this letter published in the Tribune last week.
Eventually, RTA directors did come up with more cash for Pace, but riders of the paratransit service were hit with a fare increase of 50 to 75 cents, depending on where they live.