Threatened CTA fare hikes and service cuts may be off the table if the RTA board accepts a $24 million bailout from Gov. Blagojevich.
In a morning meeting at the Thompson Center, the governor offered to immediately advance the full amount of a state subsidy to the CTA's umbrella organization, the Regional Transportation Authority.
That would enable the RTA to give the Chicago Transit Authority a $24 million funding boost right now — money that could allow the agency to avoid service cuts and fare hikes until Nov. 4.
The governor's offer is designed to give lawmakers in Springfield more time to craft a comprehensive plan for funding mass transit and other transportation and infrastructure needs.
Efforts to devise a longterm plan have failed to date. The CTA has set Sunday as the day it will cut 39 bus routes and increase fares by as much as $1 because of a funding shortfall.
CTA Chair Carole Brown, who sits on the RTA board, said she hopes her colleagues at the RTA vote to accept the bailout at its meeting Friday morning.
But she also wants to see a more long-term funding solution.
“While we appreciate the proposal because it helps our riders in the short term, all we are doing is borrowing against next year’s budget,” Brown said.
CTA President Ron Huberman said, “Our riders are tired of doomsday after doomsday after doomsday.”
CTA and RTA lawyers are conferring to see if the governor’s offer is feasible.