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Rail News: Passenger Rail

CTA's agenda includes fare hikes, job cuts and new board leaders


Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Richard Rodriguez recently released his 2010 budget recommendation, which calls for fare increases, the elimination of 1,100 jobs, unpaid days for certain workers and various service reductions.

A 30 percent drop in public funding, as well as union contracts and pension obligations, contributed to a $300 million budget shortfall, prompting the necessary actions, Rodriguez said in a prepared statement. Projections for expense cuts and new revenue generation have enabled the CTA to propose a balanced 2010 budget of $1.29 billion, he said.

The authority plans to hike fares to $3 for all rail services and 19 express bus routes, increasing ticket prices from 33 percent to 50 percent. Bus fares would increase 11 percent to $2.50. The CTA also plans to reduce rail service by 9 percent and bus service by 18 percent. All service changes and fare increases would take effect Feb. 7, 2010.

In addition, the CTA — which already cut spending by $50 million this year through labor cost controls, materials and fuel savings, and other efficiencies — proposes to forego salary increases and institute up to 18 unpaid days for non-union staff, and eliminate up to 100 non-union administrative positions and more than 1,000 unionized jobs.

The Chicago Transit Board will consider the proposed budget at its November meeting. The board must submit a balanced budget to the Regional Transportation Authority by Nov. 15.

Meanwhile, the board has appointed Terry Peterson chairman to succeed Carole Brown, who stepped down in September after serving in the post for six years. Peterson is vice president of government affairs for Rush University Medical Center.

The board also named Cynthia Panayotovich vice chairman to succeed Susan Leonis, who held the post since 2004. Panayotovich has served on CTA’s board since 2002.