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The Chicago Regional Transportation Authority's (RTA) board last week approved its 2018-2023 regional transit strategic plan, which calls for pursuing public funding for transit.Titled "Invest in Transit," the plan makes the case for pursuing dependable funding streams that would enable the RTA, the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace to continue providing service.The document notes that the agencies are "on uneven financial footing" and that state funding is "chronically lacking." The plan also outlines the actions that stable funding would enable the agencies to take to provide public transit service into the future."We should be investing $2 [billion] to $3 billion in capital each year to keep our system in good shape and move forward with new innovations. However, we're currently not even investing half of that each year," said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden in a press release. "Ultimately, we must find a sustainable funding source that will enable us to continue to provide excellent service to our riders and fund the capital projects that will keep us competitive."The culmination of two years of research, the plan describes three key goals over the next five years: delivering value on investment, building the strengths of the network, and remaining competitive.In an interview for Progressive Railroading's 2018 Outlook coverage, Metra's now former CEO Don Orseno noted that the railroad and other Chicago-area public transit operators are facing the "biggest financial crisis since Metra was formed 33 years ago."
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