Rally to Save Mass Transit! Thompson Center on Tuesday.

by crandell | 08/23/2007

Photo Credit TheeErin (http://flickr.com/photos/theeerin)

Don't miss the transit rally at 11:30 a.m. Tue., Aug. 28, in front of the Thomspon Center. If funding and reforms don't come through by Sept. 16, we'll see major service cuts across the region and another funding crisis again next year. The local press has made it clear that we can't afford to shortchange our transit any more. But until now we haven't seen crowds of Chicagoans demanding better transit in the streets. Maybe that's what it will take to get reform.

Rep. Julie Hamos and my Rep. Sara Feigenholtz have sent out emails announcing the event (see below).

Dear Neighbor:

Join me and other members of the Mass Transit Committee, civic, business and labor communities and transit advocates from across the region in support of mass transit on Tuesday, August 28th at 11:30 a.m. at the Thompson Center's outdoor plaza at Clark and Randolph streets in the loop.

Senate Bill 572 (which would create a long term funding source for the CTA) will soon be considered by the Illinois Legislature and we need to make it very clear to the rest of the General Assembly and the Governor that we cannot live with the CTA's proposed service cuts that will go into effect September 16, 2007 if this or similar legislation isn't passed immediately.

This is a very important piece of legislation for the CTA, Metra and PACE and anyone who uses any of these services should come to the rally. If you work in the loop grab a couple co-workers who support mass transit in our community and make your way over to the rally to show your support .

Please don't hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff if there is anything I can help you with.

All my best,
Sara Feigenholtz

State Representative
12th District

Senate Bill 572

With CTA threatening to cut service and raise rates, Rep. Feigenholtz is standing up for mass transit users and will vote for Senate Bill 572 with House Amendment 3. This measure will help ensure that crucial transportation options are not further interrupted or shut down, and will ensure over $380 million in funding annually for the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and prevent the drastic fare increases and service cuts outlined in the CTA's "doomsday" scenario scheduled to go into effect on September 16, 2007.

After many months of hearings, reports and negotiations the Illinois Auditor General released a comprehensive audit of public transportation in northeastern Illinois this spring which indicated that the 25-year-old RTA Act needs to be revisited. Senate Bill 572 was introduced to do just that and ensures that our mass transit system functions in a truly integrated way and has the resources needed to keep operating and growing.

Senate Bill 572, if passed, will increase funding for the CTA, Metra, and PACE and the measure will drastically reduce much of the CTA's frivolous spending that has drained resources for decades. The RTA will be given more authority to coordinate the activities of the CTA, PACE and Metra and will be required to develop strategic plans in coordination with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

The Auditor General's report indicated that if all systems operated at peak efficiency there is not enough money to operate the system with the existing funding formula of the .25% sales tax from the collar counties and 1% sales tax from Cook County. All three service providers have confirmed this maintain that their proposed "doomsday" scenarios will go into effect if they do not receive additional funding from the City of Chicago and the State. Senate Bill 572 includes an additional quarter-percent increase in the entire RTA region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties) and authorizes the City Council to impose a .3% real estate transfer tax.