CTA Faces Tough Budget For Next Year

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Transit Authority is beginning to plan its budget for next year, and it won’t be easy to accomplish.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, fare increases were taken off the table the past two years because of an agreement the agency made with Gov. Pat Quinn in late 2009. Instead, CTA resorted to a 19 percent service cut in February 2010, but has not made significant changes since then.

But the two-years moratorium on fare increases is up Dec. 31. When asked if a fare increase is in the offing, new CTA President Forrest Claypool hedged, but did not rule anything out.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

“It’s too early to speculate, but it’s just obvious to me that you’ve got a perfect storm of financial problems,” he said. “Declining state and federal funding, declining sales tax and other sources of funding because of the economy, which is not going to come back anytime soon even if the economy recovers. It’s going to be a long time before it’s back where it was.”

The CTA and its parent agency, the Regional Transportation Authority, have relied the past few years on borrowing — from banks and from its capital accounts, even though repair and reconstruction programs remain seriously underfunded.

Claypool said CTA cannot continue to borrow money to pay its bills if it wants to remain solvent and in safe repair.

The 2012 budget should be ready in about three months. Riders will have a chance to comment after the budget is released.

  • Jim

    The agency made an “agreement” with Quinn in late 2009? Just say you lied to him like he lied to us about the income tax increase. Don’t worry about any “kickbacks” because he isn’t stupid enough , darn close though, to tell a judge he paid you off. I’m sure the taxpayers will applaud your decision!

  • Antonio

    Public transportation, including, CTA, Metra, and Amtrak, should be operated like a private enterprise and be self sufficient, so taxpayers, some of whom never use these services shouldn’t have to pay for them. If there aren’t enough riders/customers to support these services, then scale back to a level where they can be afforded without using tax dollars to fund them.

    • Andrey

      Yes, and our roads as well right? Because all of our transit infrastructure, INCLUDING our roads, are all heavily subsidized. Those should be privately funded as well, by your logic.

  • Antonio

    It’s a new reality. Lets all start living within our means……

  • Mario Mims

    Gee, they told us that The CTA was losing money because of the Seniors R1de
    Free Program and the elimination of it would restore the CTA to solvency.
    Somebody ain’t telling the truth or what the real deal is.

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