Transit planners at CTA should be all smiles with Barack's re-election

Transit planners at CTA should be all smiles with Barack's re-election
Nov. 7: Transit planners at CTA should be all smiles with Barack's re-election. (Stylized map by CTA showing the Red Line extension to 130th Street)

The re-election of President Obama to another four-year term should make transit planners nationwide very happy.

And certainly the folks at the CTA may be among the happiest.

The president has said a number of times that he wants the federal government to invest key infrastructure projects, and mass transit is included.

In Chicago, the CTA has a number of high-priced projects queued up for federal dollars. The Red Line extension to 13oth Street is the highest profile such project, and the furthest down the planning pipeline. Other projects vying for Federal Transit Administration funding include the Western and Ashland Cooridors Bus Rapid Transit, and the Red and Purple Modernization.

The Red Line extension also has a very high profile supporter — Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Of course, the mayor is Obama’s former chief of staff, a huge fund-raiser for him in this election, and an effective campaigner down to the last weekend before Tuesday’s election.

Add all these variables together and there should be big smiles down at CTA headquarters at 567 W. Lake St. this week.

Of course, there’s no guarantee these projects will all be funded, but the likelihood is exponentially stronger with Obama sitting in the Oval Office as opposed to Mitt Romney.



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  • It might be, but...
    ...I see the Illinois General Assembly did a great job doing away with Congresspeople even cited here as being bipartisan advocates of transportation, including Biggert and Dold.

    So, it gets back to what Schakowsky and Quigley are going to do for their districts. Let's also remember that the Red Line extension is in the district of a Congressman with admitted mental difficulties, who got reelected nonetheless. Let's see if he (or probably a successor) can "bring home the bacon."

  • In reply to jack:

    Jackson Jr won't be a factor anymore as he's negotiating a plea bargain with the US Attorney.
    He'll be gone by New Years Day. [Sun-Times]

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I wonder how reliable Sneed is on the legal beat.

    However, it does point out that Chicago voters don't care for whom they vote, and then blame others when their "representatives" don't produce. If nothing else, if a new election is held, the replacement won't have seniority, which was supposedly something in JJJr.'s favor, according to him.

    Personally, using campaign funds to by drapes and a girlfriend a Rolex seems small beans compared to not getting prosecuted in the Blago matter. But they got Rosty over postage stamps. But that was then.

  • In reply to jack:


  • I should elaborate that while the FTA can hold spurious competitions, such as for circulator grants not for a circulator or BRT grants that don't meet the definition of BRT, it isn't authorized to disburse any money unless Congress appropriates it. Throw in the ineffectiveness of congresspeople in the districts through which the Red Line runs, and the point made by the House [apparently in response to the people who said here a year ago that highways were being subsidized] that the gas tax doesn't even meet highway needs, I certainly don't see this Congress expanding on any program passed in MAP-21, which, BTW, has the restrictive definition of BRT,

    So, Rahm having obvious connections with the resident of the 5000 block of S. Greenwood isn't going to make any difference unless Congress acts.

  • Well I'm not smiling.

  • I still think the red to 130th is a bad idea. I know the odds of it happening are slim but maybe the state should look at the Acts that say that Metra is a suburban designed service so that city only metra trains can run on already established corridors to add service. The Rock Island and Electric District trains already serve areas and stop frequently enough to eliminate a need for a red line extension. As long as we have competing agencies, our transit will suffer.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    I agree with your last sentence.

    However, Altgeld Gardens are in the city. CTA also is taking responsibility for King Dr. between 95th and 111th as part of the decrowding plan, and Pace is bypassing that.

    I had thought that honoring CTA fares on the ME and RI would make sense, but the main advocate of that has put his campaign into the untenable position of advocating a closed fare system for the ME, instead of true integration of services. Also, it isn't going to work if the RTA, CTA, and Metra (as well as a city consultant that was "his" until the consultant turned) basically told him that your idea is daid.

  • In reply to jack:

    I figured that the introduction of ventra would help integrate the system, especially if handheld receivers can be used on metra.

    I'm in the group that says we need to abolish the service boards. It's incredibly wasteful to have three different agencies serve the region, especially if they are not going to work together. King Drive is a positive thing but is it a result of true cooperation or desperation to save money to pay for service increases?

  • In reply to ibright05:

    I certainly agree with the first sentence of your second paragraph.

    Ventra might help, but it isn't as easy as Pace saying "Metra will get on board," in that, if nothing else, Metra has several ICE grants to try to implement a system compatible with conductor auditing of fares. The question I raised is that how they audit "passengers riding past their zone," or where any passenger gets off.

    With regard to your last sentence, I thought it was just desperation and ignoring such things as Pace running express on 270, until Pace announced that it had cooperated with CTA, at least with regard to 270, 317, and 349. However, I contend that if CTA really wanted to foster cooperation, it would turn over Evanston and Skokie (and the funds to run it) to Pace. Those routes can't be meeting CTA recovery ratio standards, and Pace would be the more efficient operator.

    But,. going back to the original point, that would be moot if the service board bureaucracy were abolished.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    I'm all for having a real *regional* transportation authority and getting rid of the CTA and PACE.

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