By now you may have heard that two minority CTA riders filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday alleging that racial bias favoring white transit riders over minorities has resulted in a transit funding formula that benefits Metra over the CTA.
A Metra spokesperson said the agency “categorically denies any type of racial
discrimination,” and questions the validity of the ridership statistics
cited in the lawsuit. The suit claims that 60 percent of CTA riders are Latino or black, while 70 percent of Metra riders are white.
Now, I don’t know whether those ridership figures are correct. But I do know I’m appy that maybe this lawsuit will force lawmakers to revisit the flawed funding formula.
The CTA now receives 59 percent of RTA operation subsidies — a figure unchanged since 1983 — even though the CTA 82 percent Chicago-area transit users ride the CTA, says the suit. And Metra gets 27 percent of RTA funds, even though it serves just 12 percent of area riders, the suit says.
For its part, the CTA doesn’t blame the current funding imbalance on racial discrimination. Instead it says the funding formula should be changed to take into account population and demographic changes in the six counties served by the RTA.
The Chicago Bar-Tender has a copy of the lawsuit here.