Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Pretty Optimistic"

The RTA's Chairman Jim Reilly is quoted in today's Daily Southtown that he is "pretty optimistic" about the prospects for the RTA funding package. As Mr. Reilly does not appear to be a person given to wild flights of irrational exuberance, this is good news for supporters of increased funding for this region's public transit system.

The same article reports that SB 572 (or some stealth alternative) will be subject of a hearing this week and will be voted on by the House next week. As of the time of this posting, no new amendments have been offered to SB 572 and no meeting of the House Mass Transit Committee has been publicly announced. The current final action deadline for the bill is August 4th.

Just a few days ago, Representative Hamos indicated that the House vote on the RTA funding/"reform" package would have occurred by now. With this delay maybe her office can post copies of the full legislative package that is coming.


Anonymous said...

Undisclosed sources report that the root of the SB 572 hold up is a disagreement over the technicalities of pension payments, and a demand from the Republicans that CTA unions be stripped of collective bargaining rights. This is not being well-received by the unions or Madigan.

Anonymous said...

Ryan from the WLS Newsroom is in Springfield covering what has become a record setting overtime legislative session. Read his blog here....

Mass Transit Meltdown?

A deal to bail out the CTA, Metra, and Pace may be fallen apart in Springfield - all because of partisan politics.

State Representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) – who chairs the House Mass Transit Committee and has been the brains behind the plan – claims House Republicans are holding it as a political hostage in order to get a plan to build new roads and schools passed.

"The Republican leaders were talking about waiting to vote on the transit bill unitl September. September is too late. September is after there's already a shutdown, and really, already a meltdown," said Hamos.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) tells me there is a correlation between the two.

"A number of our people believe that we need to do mass transit and a construction bill - it's important to do them both," said Cross.

Hamos says she had as many as 20 Republicans on board – but now they’re dropping like flies.

"I'm very concerned that they're holding off their vote until they see a capital bill," said Hamos.

If the transit agencies don’t get hundreds of millions of dollars by September 1st they’ll have to lay off employees, raise fares, and cut service.

Cross says suburban Republicans may also be at issue with a portion of the bill that gives Cook County more of a say in RTA operations.

"I don't know that collar county legislators are all excited about giving more governance power or authority to Todd Stroger the way we've seen a lot of Cook County run," said Cross.

Hamos says she's calling the bill for a vote next week regardless of where the votes stand.

(posted 12:20 P.M. 8/2)

Anonymous said...


May 16, 2007 11:20:00 AM CST

Anonymous said...

This is starting to get interesting.

1) No doubt that most everyone agrees that the saga of transit in NE illinois will be resolved only with a substantial investment.

2) There is much discourse yet however on who has yet to pony up for those investments.

3) But most troubling..notwithstanding Rep. Hamos' galiant efforts, her backing band from the RTA..made up mostly of monochromatic syncophants has failed to provide a sustainable back-beat. As Springfield yields to the Hony Tonk that menaces just below the surface, Julie Hamos will have to belt out her version of "Shake Your Money Maker". A performance which may turn out to be very politically costly...indeed.

Anonymous said...

Why does the transit authority want to collect taxes for county road projects? Is that tax really needed? I don't see how that resolves the transit funding problem? Can somebody explain this?