Mayoral candidates avoid transit issues

Over the last week or so I’ve been combing the websites and backgrounds of the major candidate for Chicago mayor to determine their positions on transit issues.

It’s been a lesson in futility.

Not one candidate addresses transit issues on their websites. Though most like to press the flesh at L stations, none wants to discuss his/her plans to make CTA more financially viable. And voters are hungry to hear what candidates think about transit issues, according to the Tribune:

“Eighty-two percent of likely voters who participated in the poll
responded that the availability of good mass transit is an “important
concern” that Chicago’s next mayor “should address immediately upon
taking office.” Among undecided voters, 80 percent were on board with that opinion, the poll found.”

That poll was commissioned by the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents most of the CTA’s bus and rail operators.

But it’s not too late for the candidates to get in front of transit issues. The election is five weeks from today. I call on the candidates to get onboard.

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  • Keep the pressure on. Everything I've seen so far has been vague pandering. We need more specifics than these generic responses.

  • The usual chicken and egg question about whether Hilkevitch got there first.

    However, the conclusion seems correct. The probing only seems on the level of Tracy Schwartz trailing Emanuel to L stations and asking if he is going to keep Rodriguez, which, as I said, is certainly the wrong question.

    As AB indicated a couple of days ago, the real issue is lack of regional coordination, which, after the farce of a 2008 RTA bill, no one seems to take seriously. Some candidate could show some gumption by advocating for a real RTA, even if that meant giving up the mayor's grip on the CTA, but won't.

    On new construction, there are the questions about the South Red Line extension and rebuilding the North Red Line, and all I have heard about that is that Emanuel says he is in favor of the former, but no one has indicated a path to actually finding a funding source, nor getting either out of the interminable consultant process. At least Daley's crew had some vision, although all 4 of the recent New Starts have been in consultant limbo for about 5 to 6 years now, looking back at the CTA New Starts page.

    While, especially in highway construction, the "if we don't get funding, the expressway is going to collapse," but all the sudden the Stevenson and Wacker Drive are miraculously dug up game has been played too often (until the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minnesota, and the Cline Ave. bridge was closed in Indiana), whoever is the mayor is going to have to do something to bring more urgency to CTA renovation issues, or bridges will collapse. Somehow the Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line got rebuilt without any preannounced consultant process, and maybe someone should research how that got accomplished.

    Of course, it doesn't seem like much of anything is being addressed, except for Chico saying that someone messed up school reform after I left (that had to have been Duncan, wouldn't you think), Emanuel all the sudden discovering that Chicago Politics don't work (they worked for him), and nobody wants to renew J-Fed's contract.

  • Del Valle is the only one who talked specifics which is nice. Hopefully Rahm will lay out his full plan as he stated in the piece on there.

    I did run across a Del Valle petition signer one time who told me that Del Valle is big into improving biking access/lanes around the city.

  • In reply to chris:

    Yes, but again he's given no specifics.

  • In reply to chris:

    Consultant contracts are one of the main components of pinstripe patronage.
    The other main one is renting buildings to government. Most of those buildings are former manufacturing buildings that are converted to offices. They make terrible office buildings.

    The Dan Ryan reconstruction was fascinating as it was completed on time & with the only real problems that I saw were rebuilding the 35th station the seemingly unending rewiring of several stations. That station should have been moved to the south side of 35th since Sox Park is also now on the south side of the street.

  • In reply to ElstonClybourn:

    Your first sentence was the point that I wanted to make the other day, but you stated it directly.

  • In reply to ElstonClybourn:

    Interview the candidates.Ask leading questions so they are more or less agreeing to enact your transit agenda.Be realistic on what they can actually accomplish.

  • In reply to chris:

    Well, what did you expect? That people running for office would actually take a stand on an issue? No, recent history has proven that vague platitudes win elections, not specific ideas.

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