- The RTA Board would select a voting member for each of the boards of the service boards.
- The Chairmen of all three service boards should become non-voting RTA directors.
- Representatives from each service board should serve as non-voting members on the boards of the other service boards (e.g., Pace representatives sit on the CTA and Metra boards).
- City: The Mayor of Chicago will get two new appointments to the RTA Board but the CTA Chairman will become a non-voting member. (Net gain of one seat, from 5 to 6 appointments).
- Suburban Cook County: No change--4 seats
- Counties: Each county board chairman would get to appoint an RTA Board member (Gain of two seats, from three to five seats, for the collar counties. Gain of one seat for Cook County as a whole)
- Governor: One appointment, up from zero.
The RTA Act currently imposes a nine-vote supermajority requirement for major RTA decisions, such as the selection of the Chairman, approval of the service board operating budgets and adoption of the RTA's capital program. The current supermajority requirement gives the four Chicago appointees plus the CTA Chairman veto power over these major RTA decisions. (That veto power will be lost if the RTA Board seats are reallocated among the City of Chicago, suburban Cook County and the collar counties based on the 2000 Census, as was required to have been done by July 2003 under the current RTA Act.)
The Proposal does not address whether the expanded RTA Board would have a supermajority requirement for certain important decisions and, if so, what that requirement would be. The current supermajority requirement is at 69.2% (i.e., 9/13). If we apply this percentage to the proposed 18 RTA Board members, the supermajority requirement would be calculated as follows:
18 board members x .692 = 12.456 members
If this is rounded down to 12 RTA Board members, then no geographically-based voting bloc would have veto power by itself. The City is likely to put strong pressure on the General Assembly to round up to a 13 vote supermajority requirement if this proposal sees the light of legislative day. This would allow the City to retain its current veto power.
The General Assembly should resist this pressure and set a supermajority requirement that is low enough so that no area has veto power but still high enough to ensure that a solid majority of the RTA Board is in favor of the measure. A 12-vote supermajority satisfies both conditions. If no area has veto power then the representatives from each area must build relationships and coalitions with representatives from other areas. That is generally a healthy thing on a public board with responsibilities of a region-wide nature.