CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel in saying service cuts at the CTA should be “totally off the table,” but seemed resigned to a possible fare hike for buses and trains.
Emanuel said earlier this week he is not ruling out a possible fare increase for the CTA, but said cutting services to balance the agency’s budget is “100 percent off the table.”
Members of the City Council echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, but were open to the idea of raising fares.
Aldermen acknowledged CTA fares have not increased since 2009, and Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) said Chicago residents might accept a fare hike before they would put up with reduced service.
“I cannot tell my people that ride public transportation that that bus is not going to be riding down their street, and so whatever I have to do to deal with maintaining services, I’m strictly on board with maintaining services,” she said.
Ald. David Moore (17th) sounded a similar note.
“Service cuts are totally off the table right now, until you give the community, and until you see where you may have some needs or efficiencies,” he said.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said service cuts in his area would be unpopular.
“The residents of my ward, of which probably about 60 percent of them use public transit, it needs to be reliable, safe, clean, and service is utmost,” he said.
The Regional Transportation Authority – which oversees finances for CTA, Metra, and Pace – has pressured the CTA to raise fares next year to balance its budget. Without a fare hike, RTA warned the CTA it might not be able to approve the agency’s 2018 budget, citing a decline of $33 million in state revenue.