Saturday, December 2, 2006

Raising Kane

The primary local source for transit funding is the RTA sales tax. The tax is 1% in Cook County and 0.25% in the collar counties (Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will).

In 2005 Cook County accounted for $587 million of the $700 million in total RTA sales tax collections (83.9%). In contrast, Kane County ponied up a bit over $15 million in RTA sales tax receipts, all of 2.2%. For that money, Kane County gets local Pace bus service plus three Metra lines: (i) BNSF West Line to Aurora; (ii) UP West Line to Elburn; and (iii) Milwaukee District West Line to Elgin. These lines allow the good folks of Kane County to access the entire regional public transit system.

That's not all. Metra recently invested $135 million or so in Kane County to extend the UP from Geneva to Elburn. This extension runs entirely within Kane County. Metra operates the service at a loss because of the relatively low ridership on the extension.

Nonetheless, it appears from a recent article that the elected representatives of Kane County feel that they aren't getting getting enough value from the RTA.

The article indicates that the Kane County officials are "suspicious" about what Kane County will get out of the Moving Beyond Congestion process. They have summoned MBC officials, including Steve Schlickman and Leannne Redden, who are key figures in the MBC effort, for several recent meetings. Schlickman and Redden outlined some Kane County benefits under the MBC plan:

"As part of Moving Beyond Congestion, RTA envisions extending the Milwaukee West Line from Big Timber Road to Huntley and possibly Hampshire, as well as the Burlington Northern Sante Fe line through Aurora to Oswego, and possibly Sugar Grove."

"The plan includes more express and reverse-commute Metra service on the Milwaukee West, Union Pacific and BNSF lines."

"As far as bus service goes, Schlickman said the RTA envisions putting express bus service along Kirk Road and Illinois 25, and expanding the recently added service along Randall Road into what is referred to as the Randall Road Arterial Rapid Transit service."

In addition, Kane County will benefit from the north-south leg of the STAR line, which will run from Joliet to Elign.

I think the Kane County official are suspicious that someone is going to catch on just how a sweet deal Kane County has versus say the good folks of Cook County, who are carrying over 80% of the RTA sales tax burden.

No comments: