The top brass at the Regional Transportation Authority wants the CTA, Metra and Pace to be ready by July 1 to implement "doomsday" service cuts and/or fare increases to balance their budgets if the state legislature doesn't come through with more cash.
I know it sounds like the usual scare tactics, but transit officials insist that continuing the trend of deferred maintenance and shifting capital funds to agencies' operating budgets will have dire effects on riders in the near future. I tend to agree.
Forget the glitzy expansion projects like the Star Line and the Circle Line. If the CTA, Metra and Pace don't have the money they need to keep the current system in good shape--a fact the recent Auditor General's report has confirmed--the day-to-day stuff is only going to get worse.
Trains will have to go slower to make it safely across tracks that aren't being properly maintained (think: taking the Blue Line to O'Hare). Buses that should have been retired years ago are still on the road...just sitting there because they keep breaking down. And people with disabilities who rely on Pace paratransit to have active careers and lives will be fresh out of luck, if funding continues to decline. Get the picture?
Who's to say that everything will go to pot as soon as this year or next, as some officials are warning. I, for one, don't want to wait to find out. Thoughts?