Thursday, January 18, 2007

Regional Transit Goverance: By The Numbers

Governance of the RTA and the three service boards--Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Pace--is a topic that the Moving Beyond Congestion folks would rather not discuss. Their fragile coalition likely would fall apart if they started a tug-o-war over governance. Fighting over money is fight enough.

Yet, other stakeholders, most notably the State of Illinois and the General Assembly, should review how regional transit is administered and by whom. Later posts will look as issues such as whether geographic compartmentalization of the boards of the RTA and the transit agencies makes sense.

For now, let's look at the distribution of the 39 board members who serve on the boards of the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace. Excluding the Chairmen of Pace and Metra, who are not tied to any geographical area or appointing authority, leaves 37 slots. The CTA is a tough case. Let's assign the four CTA appointees of the Mayor of Chicago to Chicago even though they need not live in Chicago. Let's also assign the CTA Chairman to Chicago, as contemplated by the RTA Act, even though the CTA Chairman need not live in Chicago. These assumptions arguably overstate Chicago's influence. Finally, we'll put the three gubernatorial appointees to the CTA Board in their own category.

For the RTA sales tax revenue I've included the State of Illinois' Public Transportation Fund contributions equal to 25% of the RTA sales tax receipts. Not included are other operating subsidies provided by the State, so the State's financial contribution percentage is lower than its percentage of total operating subsidies.

Here's the numbers. You decide who, if anyone, got hosed in 1983 when the RTA Act was passed.


Board members: 27%

Morning boarding: 67.6%
Passenger vehicle miles: 42.0%
RTA sale tax revenue: 24.5%%
Population 35.8%

Suburban Cook County

Board members: 33%

Morning boardings: 25.2%
Passenger vehicle miles: 33.2%
RTA sale tax revenue: 42.6%
Population: 30.7%

Collar Counties

Board members: 28%

Morning boardings: 7.2%
Passenger vehicle miles: 24.7%
RTA sale tax revenue: 12.9%
Population: 33.6%


Board members: 8%

Morning boardings: N/A
Passenger vehicle miles: N/A
RTA sale tax revenue: 20%
Population N/A

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