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Rail News: Passenger Rail

CTA approves $1.3 billion spending plan for 2011


Yesterday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board approved a $1.3 billion 2011 budget that maintains fares and service levels. The spending plan is $66.7 million, or 5.2 percent, higher than the 2010 budget due in part to wage increases for unionized workers, and pension and health care obligations, according to the agency.

The increased costs will be partially offset by “management efficiencies” projected to save nearly $54 million, CTA officials said in a press release.

The authority will receive $529.3 million in public funding — $92.5 million lower than in 2008 and $257.9 million lower than projected when the state passed a mass transit funding and reform bill that year. To balance the budget, CTA will transfer $113 million in capital funds to the operating budget.

“Being able to hold steady in a down economy is a good position for CTA at this time,” said President Richard Rodriguez in a prepared statement. “In a perfect world, we would like to see growth of our system, but the financial realities we are contending with right now don’t allow for that in the immediate future. We will continue to manage our budget with an eye toward future plans for improvement as the economy recovers.”

The spending plan includes $599.5 million in capital funds that will be used to rehabilitate rail stations, upgrade substations, and replace track to eliminate and prevent slow zones.

Last year, CTA parent the Regional Transportation Authority and the state of Illinois signed a borrowing agreement under which CTA would receive $83 million in bond proceeds in exchange for not raising fares for two years.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/11/2010