Reporting Bob Roberts
(WBBM) - Pace Wednesday unveiled a $183.3 million 2011 budget that holds the line on service and fares.
The suburban bus agency is setting aside $2 million in capital funds to pay for preventive maintenance on buses, if needed, but Wilmot said even the modest economic recovery seen in recent months should make it unnecessary.
On the capital side, Pace hopes to begin catching up on the purchase of new buses and retirement of well-worn vehicles dating back to the mid 1990s with newer, more fuel-efficient and smaller buses, including up to 60 hybrids.
The new buses are to be financed through the state’s new capital program, although Wilmot said it was unclear when the money would actually be released.
Its 2011 capital budget totals $80.3 million.
Pace also operates paratransit service throughout the six-county metropolitan area. Its proposed paratransit budget is $120.7 million. The capital budget includes $4.7 million to purchase new paratransit vans. Nearly four-fifths of Pace paratransit rides are provided within Chicago’s city limits.
Pace has scheduled 13 public hearings on the budget, beginning Monday and ending Oct. 28. Four will take place in the city, four in suburban Cook County and one in each of the five collar counties.
The Pace board must approve the budget at its November meeting and submit it to the Regional Transportation Authority, which is expected to give its approval at its December board meeting.