Wednesday, May 30, 2007

RTA Funding Proposal and Pandering

The funding component of Representative Hamos's bill has emerged as Amendment No. 2 to Senate Bill 572.

The Amendment has already set off alarm bells in suburban circles. The Daily Herald has a story authored by Eric Krol and John Patterson entitled "Suburbs May Bail Out CTA," a title that is sure to get the blood pressure rising among the Herald's readership base.

The article leads with this statement:

Suburban residents would pay more in sales tax to keep CTA buses and trains running as part of a last-minute bailout Chicago interests are pushing in Springfield.

It goes on to state that "RTA leaders aren’t saying publicly how that money would be divided up, but in planning documents the agency suggests 60 percent of the tax increase go to the CTA, 30 percent to Metra and 10 percent to Pace."

Since the CTA carries about 80 percent of the public transit riders in the RTA system, how exactly is this a bailout of the CTA by suburban residents, many of whom ride the CTA and many of whom would face significantly more congestion but for the CTA when they drive in Chicago and nearby suburbs.

The article closes with this statement:

Given the larger fight at the Capitol over taxes and spending on education and health care, it’s unclear whether the RTA push has much momentum. Still, it is part of an overall RTA push to tilt the balance of power toward the city and away from the suburbs when it comes to controlling finances and budgeting.

How exactly is the RTA pushing to "tilt the balance of power toward the city and away from the suburbs." The RTA has not pushed for any reduction in suburban representation on the RTA Board or on the boards of any of the service boards. The suburbs currently control seven of the twelve RTA board slots that are apportioned on a geographic basis. This means that the increased powers that will be vested in the RTA as a result of Representative Hamos' RTA reform bill will redound to the suburbs.

The article could have just as accurately been entitled "Cook County Residents May Bail Out Collar County Pace Service," but that headline wouldn't have been nearly so pandering.


Anonymous said...

The mask will be off soon won't it?

Tony Coppoletta said...

I would like to see you write a letter to the editor of the Daily Herald. This was an unfairly inflammatory news article that really was much editorial and biased conjecture.

I have also sent a letter, expressing my disappointment in the story.