The CTA should raise fares by a quarter next year – and keep doing it till they have funded all their capital needs.
Just as Metra is doing.
As long as we continue to have a paralyzed, do-nothing federal government, it will be impossible to get the kind of funding from the Feds that the CTA needs to bring the rail system into the 21st Century.
So get the money from those who will benefit the most from those improvements – CTA riders.
Metra is raising fares about 11 percent. If the CTA imposed a similar increase next year, it would amount to about 25 cents. According to a Metra news release:
A portion of the fare increase will be used to cover debt service on a bond issue of $100 million, which would be the first in Metra history, or similar financing. The financing, combined with additional financing proposed for future years, will be used to help fund a $2.4 billion modernization plan that was also announced today. The rest of the fare increase will be used primarily to cover a growth in expenses, outlined below.
The CTA has two huge expansion projects on the boards: the Red Line Extension south from 95th Street to 130th Street, and the Red and Purple Modernization project. The latter probably will cost about $4 billion. I couldn’t find an estimated cost for the Red Line south extension, but it certainly exceeds $1 billion.
So that’s $5 billion. That the CTA doesn’t have.
So riders, if you want a first class transit system, we have to pay for it.
Pony up, riders. And listen up, CTA.
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