House failure to extend transportation bill threatens key CTA projects

If the U.S. House of Representatives fails to extend the federal transportation bill by Saturday, the CTA stands to lose millions in federal funding.

Overall, the area’s transit systems could lose $1.2 million a day in federal gas tax revenue, the Tribune reports.

Not surprisingly, the extension has been bottled up in the Republican-controlled House. The U.S. Senate two weeks ago passed a two-year, $109 billion bipartisan transportation bill. That measure keeps funding at about current level. It also would restore the $230 monthly limit that mass transit users can shield from income taxes. It was reduced to $125 a month this year, while commuters who park enjoy the higher level of tax reductions.

The House could pass the two-year Senate bill, or vote to approve what would be the ninth extension of the current law that expired in September of 2009.

One CTA project that could be affected is the environmental phase of the Red Purple Modernization project. The bill also funds many highway projects, and threatens to put many construction crews out of the work.

So, the fun and games continue in the Republican-controlled House.



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  • Well, if you insist on reducing everything to petty partisan games, then how about this: if your precious Democrat-controlled Senate had done its job and come up with a budget in the past three years, none of this crap would be an issue.

  • In reply to darkwing:

    As I mentioned, the Democratic-controlled Senate came up with a bipartisan plan to fund transportation projects. They work much better than the GOP-controlled House.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    No, actually, they didn't. But understanding the distinction requires the ability to think beyond political sound bites -- and when it comes to public transit and other people's money, at least, you seem uninterested in doing so.

  • Another question is why projects that waste Millions (or Billions) of dollars (like the "Bridge to nowhere", or "Block 37") should even be funded in the first place??

    Maybe that is part of why the GOP behaves the way they do.

  • That's one of the issues, as well as the one I mentioned earlier that those, like Cheryl, who cry that highways are subsidized by general revenues are now crying when certain members of the House say that the Highway Trust Fund program funded by the gas tax should be limited to highways and only to the extent that the gas tax can cover it.

    As for waste, again note that Kevin's complaint is "One CTA project that could be affected is the environmental phase of the Red Purple Modernization project." Apparently CTA got the money for the stop gap project, but since the "company line" is that no source has been found to build the actual RPM project, I still contend that the it wasn't the point of the stimulus bill or even the transportation bill to be a "consultants' relief act." Yet, money is blown for that purpose.

    Anyway, Publius is posting press releases from Republican congressmen saying they want a bill passed. Also note that various local Republicans, including Biggert and Dold, were supposedly lauded for being for a bill, including a transit component, even though they are targeted by the Dems. Again, I point out that Schakowsky and Quigley were given big chunks of the former two districts, the RPM project is pretty much entirely in their districts, yet not a peep from them has been heard on the CTA Tattler. That's your real partisan problem.

    But, whether or not the Congress will let construction workers become unemployed, I'll be glad to contribute to any soup kitchen for the consultants.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack wrote: "Apparently CTA got the money for the stop gap project..."

    The CTA has NOT gotten the funding for the RPM project. They are currently lookign for funding of the environmental impact study phase. That's the funding that could be affected by no action on this bill.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Apparently you didn't comprehend my post.

    I said Apparently CTA got the money for the stop gap project, but since the "company line" is that no source has been found to build the actual RPM project.... So you are not telling me anything I don't know. If you don't know, the "stop gap project" is the one mentioned in the CTA Tattler of February 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

    Maybe what you should do is ask Quigley or Schakowsky if there is any money in any version of the transportation bill for construction of the RPM, the 130th extension, etc., rather than just to keep the consultants off the bread line. Being a journalist, i would think that you would want to know.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't have to ask Quigley or Schakowsky anything, because I know the answer is no. The CTA won't be granted the money until/if it successfully gets through the environmental impact study phase.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Fine. Then, the CTA should invest in Mega Millions tickets. Apparently the jackpot is now worth $475 million. Given that out of SAFETEA-LU, there were promises for money for the Red, Yellow, Purple and Circle Lines, and the Metra SWS and STAR Lines, and all but possibly the Red are DEAD, it looks like that if you are going to take it on faith the the CTA would win some competition under a future highway bill, it has better odds in the lottery.

    Besides not having to ask the High Priestess Janice if she is delivering for the district, I bet you haven't read any of the bills,* but are taking it on faith that the CTA will get something for the RPM,whenever the interminable consulting process ends.

    And if you want to talk partisan, I see that you did not previously post that the Senate passed the bill, but once it hit an obstacle in the House, "blame Republicans" immediately emerges.Yet your Congressperson doing nothing doesn't bother you.
    *I'm sure you can find them on if you cared.

  • In reply to jack:

    Correction: SES.

  • Im eagerly awaiting the next election when these tea-baggers are out on their asses. Talk about over-reaching. It will be satisfying to see them back at their old used car sales jobs.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    Unfortunately, not JJJr. and his imaginary, and unncessary Peotone airport, which seems to be his transportation priority--not the Gray Line or the 130th St. extension of the Red Line.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    No kidding. I really don't get why they think transit funding isn't necessary. Just think of what their commute would be like if all of us drove to work.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I don't think there are that many Tea Partiers who commute to work in Chicago, New York, Boston, or San Francisco.

    Let's just pick Chicago--Bobby Rush, JJJr., Guiterrez, Quigley, Jan, Danny Davis. I guess Tea Partiers all who will have a long commute in their limos, due to Congestion.

    Now, if you are that concerned with DART...

    You don't get much, do you?

  • Hey Jack! The New York Times is reporting that even traditional Republicans like the US Chamber of Commerce are annoyed that the GOP House can't pass a transportation bill:

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Heck, you reported a couple of weeks ago that Illinois Republicans the Illinois General Assembly is trying to kick out of the House, like Dold and Biggert, were behind a transit component. So, again you aren't telling me anything new. Even Roskam said he was in favor of a transit component, but apparently for Metra.

    Maybe you and Cheryl should talk to the Tea Party congresspeople I described in my comment above your last one, and tell them how holding back the transportation bill is going to make their commutes longer. Not all politicians come from Ravenswood and Ravenswood Manor.

    In the meantime, since this all started with how the bill was so necessary to keep the RPM consultants paid, I commented in the next post how that consultant job is becoming more unnecessary,

    In the meantime, you still haven't posted evidence that your Democratic congresspeople are doing anything for their districts in that regard.

  • House OKs 90-day extension of U.S. transportation spending amid lots of grumbling. Senates expected to pass it too.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    So, Congress acted as it usually does, and the consultants get a 90 day reprieve.

    In the meantime, Chicago residents can go back to their representatives and ask what they are going to do to hammer out a bill. As the FTA site states, SAFETEA-LU was signed in 2005 to be effective through FY 2009, and we are now in Fiscal 2012, according to OMB. Thus, as darkwing points out, the Democratic Congress could have enacted a new transportation bill at any time between 2008 and 2010, when they were in control, but failed to do so, and apparently the House Democrats haven't done anything to form a coalition with enough Republicans in the House to get it done since then.

    But, I guess, 87 days from now, the partisan gnashing will again commence.

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