RTA Must Mediate Transit Funding Debate - Metropolitan Planning Council

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RTA Must Mediate Transit Funding Debate

The recent media volley between Metra, Pace and CTA has netted one positive: heightening the public’s sense of urgency that the time is now to improve the region’s public transit system. All three service providers – and their riders – have made it clear that commuter rail and bus lines are crucial to the region’s economic health, and that more money is needed to maintain and improve these vital systems.

However, what should have been a healthy debate among Metra, Pace and CTA officials about how best to serve the region’s public transit riders unfortunately has lapsed into a bicker-fest. Instead of building consensus toward a regional solution in the fall veto session, leaders from the three boards have spent their time defending themselves against one another. Meanwhile, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) – the financial oversight and regional planning body of Metra, Pace and CTA – sits idly by.

The RTA, which operates on a $16.4 million annual budget to coordinate efforts between the three transit operators, must step into this debate and fulfill its role as regional mediator. Before any of the threatened service cuts bring the region to a grinding halt, transit riders – many of whom rely not just on one service provider, but rather on a combination of Metra, Pace and CTA to get around – need the RTA to ensure that all three receive the funding they need to maintain quality service.


Karyn Romano,
Transportation Director
Metropolitan Planning Council



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