Sunday, August 5, 2007

Those That Got Get?

We noted some weeks ago the comment by Jim Reilly, the Chairman of the RTA, to the DuPage County Board that Metra is the "winner" in SB 572.

Now at least one suburban newspaper, the Naperville Sun, in an editorial in today's newspaper, has taken up the theme. The editorial urges approval of SB 572. Here is its analysis of why SB 572 favors the collar counties:

Proponents of the legislation, including Schillerstrom, point out that for the first time since the RTA was created the collar counties will not be sending money into Chicago to help the CTA. Also for the first time, tax money will be coming out of Chicago to help the suburbs - specifically the collar counties will be paying $121 million a year, while Pace will get a dedicated revenue of $100 million for paratransit purposes and Metra and Pace combined will get $163 million.

The legislation reforms the RTA to give it more authority vis-a-vis the transit agencies and improve the city/suburban balance of its board. Additionally, it changes the funding formula so that the CTA gets a smaller percentage of RTA money while Metra and Pace receive a larger percentage.

Schillerstrom thinks this bi-partisan legislation is the best deal the suburbs are ever likely to get, though some local legislators are dragging their feet and displaying their aversion to raising taxes.

Recall that both the Auditor General and the House Mass Transit Committee have concluded that under the current funding structure the collar counties--like Chicago--consume a larger share of transit resources than their share of the tax burden. Does SB 572 give the collar counties an even better deal?


Anonymous said...

Schillerstrom needs money.

Anonymous said...

This again seems to ignore the real estate transfer tax.

Channel 7 News Views just did a story about this with Andy Shaw interviewing Huberman and having a sound bite with Schillerstrom. Both were happy, so who cares.

Anonymous said...

Nice, transit is so desperate that it has to front for County Highway funding in order to get its "deal".
That's the way to shape public policy, forget merit, that's only applicable to transportation planners, everybody else gets to work of of the "deal".

And why hasn't there been publication of a proposed Administrative Procedure out of MBC or any of the other Year of Decision efforts? With out an Administrative Procedure/Guide nobody will know how any of this money will ever be spent and how the publics' interests will be managed. As it stands, the benefits have been analyzed according to local geopolitics. Why they even have Mr. Altruism (the moderator) all in on the particulars of the deal and who "gets" what. Anybody else need to get in on the action?

With out a published procedure (see any of the Federal or State Granting Agencies for examples) the public should just pay the deal makers to leave transit alone and go away.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Dennis Byrne alludes to this in his otherwise ridiculous op-ed today when he asked why taxpayers subsidize "high tone suburbs".

If you are a well-paid executive of a large corporation, you can choose to live 31 miles north and receive a taxpayer transit subsidy at least five times greater than your secretary who lives in Bronzeville.

Should those 31 passenger miles be five times more valuable to the taxpayers than the 6 passenger miles your secretary takes on the Green Line from 43rd? The societal impact on congestion is not on Westminster Road or Vincennes Avenue, it's on the Edens Junction, the Ohio feeder ramp, and on Wacker Drive.

Anonymous said...

1. Only if the RTA can successfully overcome Georgetown's fears that extending the Metro will just bring dark-skinned people from Shaw and Anacostia into their neighborhood. Oh wait, I meant Oakbrook, CTA, Maywood and Austin.
2. Yes. More frequent reverse commuting, and numerous infill stations, which would have much higher ridership than costly extensions.
3. Yes, no, yes.
4. Yes.
5. Yes.
6. Yes.

Anonymous said...

Moderator does a better job of summing these figures, but I calculate that CTA's public operating subsidy is going up 60%. Pace is going up 62% (although, I'm having a touch time figuring out the impacts of Paratransit) and Metra goes up 42%.

Most of CTA's new money is coming from the City of Chicago, through it's share of the sales tax and the transfer tax. Any future growth will have to come from boosting the City's economy, so Mayor Daley has his work cut-out for him.

CTA is getting a big boost. Pace is getting possibly a bigger boost and Metra is getting a big boost too, albeit not as large.

Most of the dollars for CTA are going into the pension bailout right, so the customers of CTA get to keep their CTA as it is today, which is, increasing ridership, so-so service levels, uncertain capital upkeep, continuing escalting labor costs and some uncertainty down the road. Some good, some bad.

Pace has a difficult task and paratransit. It's status quo too.

Metra, on the other hand, has some small operating deficits, but, the question out there, still, is what will they do with over $100 million of new money?