Support bill to provide $2 billion in transit emergency operating funds

A U.S. Senate committee is currently considering a bill that could provide funds to restore about $100 million in service cuts made by the CTA in February.

From a Transportation for America press release:

The Public Transportation Preservation Act would provide $2 billion in emergency assistance for operating expenses necessary to restore a major reduction in transit service and to hold off future fare increases due to decreased state or local funding that occurred on or after January 1, 2009. Funding would be distributed through existing formulas. The Act will help transit agencies avoid or minimize future service reduction and fare increases that are being contemplated through the end of FY 2011.

A laid-off CTA bus driver asked me to spread the word on how to write your senators and urge them to support the bill.

I sure hope it passes, but I’m doubtful, since the Senate no longer has a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority of Democrats. You would think Republicans would see the wisdom in keeping adequate levels of funding for public transit. But if it’s going to add to the deficit, forget it.


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  • Well there are several things in response.

    1. For those of you who say that the problem is funding, well that problem is NEVER SOLVED. Remember the "Moving Beyond Congestion" campaign of 2005-2008 to get more funding. Well, THE TAXES WENT UP, but that didn't solve anything.

    2. As far as the feds printing money, sure they can and did. However, there seems to be more belly aching that the stimulus money for police and teachers ran out, and the state is now in a double hole.

    3. As far as the public unions, the difference is that in the private sector, there are stockholders as a counterweight if union demands get out of hand, and if they do, the company goes bankrupt, unless you are a big advocate of the government holding onto its stakes in GM and Chrysler Group, and not even Obama advocates that. However, in the public sector, it is just give in, and be like Quinn and just put the burden on the taxpayers for borrowing and spending. Surprisingly, only Daley sees that the taxpayers have met their limits.

    4. With about 900 CTA union employees having hit the bricks, thanks to their former coworkers having sold them out, I don't buy the argument that you have to pay the remaining ones to stay, just as I don't buy the argument that the bankruptcy court needs to allow the Tribune to pay its incompetent management to stay through the bankruptcy proceedings.

    So, Kyle, I hope you understand. I know that the people who work for the myriad units of government in Illinois don't.

  • Actually Kyle, what we're asking is that the unions come to reality. Most of us fought for our wages & salaries but had to take cuts to keep our jobs. I guarantee you many of those laid off would far rather have a lesser salary than NO salary.
    The original goal of unions, to stop wholesale exploitation of workers was admirable, and in places where new unions are starting this is often what is occurring. The bad flipside is that people in unionized jobs start to expect things that do not reflect economic realities. Who out here in the private sector get's double-digit pay raises even in good times? Raise your hand if you still have a defined benefit for life double what you'd get from SSI.
    The reason that pay was low was that retirement benefits were good, and they came fairly early in life. It was a tradeoff. Now the unions don't want a tradeoff, they want it all, cushy benefits well above the norm AND top in the nation pay.
    We the people paying those salaries are saying, no! You get one or the other, choose just like we have to.

  • No, I am just talking economic reality.

    3. With regard to "union fault," maybe the unions did not cause the downturn or Illinois's irresponsible financial practices, but, undoubtedly through lobbying the legislature, got an Illinois Public Labor Relations Act that prevents dealing with many of the current problems. For instance, in New York, strikes are banned and strikers lose two days pay for each day missed. Here, in Illinois, strikes are allowed, except for police, fire, and paramedics. In the one area that was subject to the IPLRA's arbitration mandate, the police got less from the arbitrator than Daley initially offered. That tells me something about the situation vis a vis the other unions.

    4. My only point is whatever the fault is for the economic downturn, there is a surplus of labor and I don't see that it is necessary to pay above market wages nor give supervisors bonuses when there aren't other jobs for those saying they are going elsewhere to take, and plenty of people available who would take those jobs, in this case, 900 former CTA union employees. The only place where this bluff was called was Bank of America, another subsidiary of the government, where they eventually got a president.

  • BTW, what union are you representing, and what is your association with it? And does "fighting" include saying 900 of your "brethren" can get laid off to protect the benefits of the remaining 89%?

    Solidarity, forever.

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