News pickup: Rahm stands by "let them drive" comments; CTA retirement plan underfunded

Here’s a quick roundup of recent CTA news items.

Mayor Emanuel won’t back down from fare increase comments. Two days after Chicago’s mayor made some controversial comments about the hike in CTA passes and how passengers can “choose to drive,” Emanuel stood by his words. “What I said is, (it’s) a choice. People have a choice between public transportation and private,” the mayor said. “If you’re coming from O’Hare, you pay $50 for the cab downtown. You can rent a car, which is probably close to that. Or you can take the CTA. That’s a choice which is much cheaper.” That’s fine, I get it. But he could have found a more elegant way to say all this.

CTA employee retirement plan underfunded. The Tribune reports: “The funded portion of the CTA employees retirement plan has dropped below the required minimum level, and the program’s investment assumptions are “optimistic” when measured against likely returns, according to a state review released Tuesday. The funded proportion of the retirement plan declined from 70.1 percent on Jan. 1, 2011, to 59.2 percent on Jan. 1 this year, the review conducted by Illinois Auditor General William Holland’s office found. At the start of 2010, the funded ratio was 74.8 percent.

Lawrence Red Line station to reopen late Friday night. The sixth of seven newly renovated north Red line stations will reopen at 11:59 p.m. Friday. The Lawrence station is the only one of the seven to feature wooden platform. Here’s why. And check out the other amenities in a CTA news release.


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  • As Marie Antoinette apparently put it, "let them eat brioche," too. But not to offend political ally Joe Moore, not foie gras.

  • But he's right. These are your choices.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    If you can afford to buy and maintain a car. And if you have a license (well, scratch that, clearly a lot of people drive in Chicago without bothering with that little detail). And if you're not, oh let's say, under 18, visually impaired, partially paralyzed, or otherwise legally or physically unable to drive.

    But of course the Mayor is fine with pushing people away from the CTA. More people driving = more people paying parking fines, red-light fines, and (soon) speed-camera fines.

  • In reply to rastewart:

    I can't stand the guy but I don't think that was his point.

    I can afford a car and I am physically able to drive one. I also have a valid license. I choose to use transit most of the time instead.

  • If I was still a "choice" or "ten-ride a week" CTA transit commuter who owned a car as I was a few years back , I'd be tempted to organize a drive-in to City Hall amongst like users. Except I'd encourage participants not to park and be subject to parking fees, but meander aimlessly throught the Loop.

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