In slightly better news for the CTA, Metra and Pace, the Mass Transit Committee of the Illinois House approved a $452 million funding proposal backed by the Regional Transportation Authority.
Last week, the RTA proposed raising $452 million a year in operating funds for Chicago-area transit by increasing the RTA sales tax in the six-county region by .25 percent--on top of an additional .25 percent increase for the five collar counties--and by raising the real-estate transfer tax in Chicago by .3 percent.
Increasing the state match to the proposed sales and transfer taxes would also generate a portion of the funds.
The transit committee's support for the RTA funding plan is encouraging, but the measure still needs to pass the entire House and the Senate before it can take effect. With the state legislative session looking like it's going into overtime, it's hard to say when the transit funding bill will come up for a full floor vote.
The CTA, Metra and Pace need a combined $226 million by July 1 to balance their budgets, a feat they could accomplish if the RTA proposal succeeds.