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9/13/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Chicago transit agencies could receive more state funds


On Friday, Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) board approved an amendment to its fiscal-year 2005 budget that — if approved by the state — would provide more funds than currently budgeted for Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Northeastern Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra) and bus service provider Pace. The increased funding would enable the agencies to maintain current service levels.

The amendment also would require Metra and Pace to mirror CTA by developing two versions of their budget — one that includes additional state funds to maintain service levels and one that doesn’t.

RTA board members opposed funding proposed by the authority’s staff because it didn’t address regional transit agencies’ decreasing public operating funds. For example, CTA received about $397 million in FY2004 for bus and rail operations compared with $491 million in 1985.

In 2005, CTA is facing a $75 million operating funding shortfall.

"There are serious structural flaws in the way transit is currently funded," said CTA chair Carole Brown. "Without General Assembly action this fall, CTA will be forced to cut transit service."



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