Tuesday, November 6, 2007

SB 572: Hope Springs Eternal For Representative Hamos

Representative Julie Hamos has circulated a newsletter discussing SB 572 and the transit funding situation. She describes why SB 572 failed to advance out of the Illinois House as follows:

The House of Representatives returned to Springfield last Thursday with the expectation that there would be a vote on SB 572, our comprehensive transit plan. However, the House Republicans again held firm that they were unwilling to support transit legislation without a capital infrastructure bill. Since transit is a truly regional, bipartisan issue that deserves bipartisan support, it was impossible to pass the transit bill with hardly any Republican support.

The newsletter goes on to note that the Governor and three of the four legislative leaders have pledged to work hard over the next two weeks to craft a long-term transit funding solution by coming up with a state-wide capital plan. (You can access the letters through the Hamos newsletter.) The lone holdout is Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, perhaps smarting over the less than complete description of SB 572 contained in a letter he received from the RTA recently.

In any event, Representative Hamos closes her newsletter with the following: "I remain hopeful that the leaders will fashion a capital infrastructure bill that will pave the way for a successful vote on SB 572 in the next two weeks."

What, if any, of SB 572 will survive the legislative back and forth over the next days or weeks?

Is transit funding the only issue that needs to be resolved by the Governor and the legislative leaders or are the RTA "reform" provisions also up in the air?

Will the CTA unions agree to honor their concessions if a solution is not enacted before 2008? Are greater concessions possible in 2008 if the CTA's 2008 doomsday is even worse than the 2007 doomsday that was just averted?

Is the Governor or any of the legislative leaders inclined to radically reform the Chicago area public transit system by, for example, combining the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace into the RTA as operating units of the RTA?

Will enough of SB 572 pass so that Representative Hamos can feel like the effort she has put into this issue has been worthwhile?


Anonymous said...

As previously noted, the so called reforms in SB572 have been so watered down by the quest to get votes that there will be no real reforms. You'll get the pension package and the associated real estate transfer tax, some funding source that is not sustainable (probably not a sales tax and probably something related to the casino), a bloated RTA board, and a bunch of window dressing so that the state representatives can send mailings to the constituents to the effect that they addressed the problems identified by the Auditor General, but really didn't. Did you think the Daley Administration would give up political control of the CTA at this point? Especially when it wants a similar governance model for its casino commission?

Anonymous said...

To go into a little more detail, the legislative letter to the RTA, posted on the Hamos site, says in the first paragraph "we understand fully the urgent need to provide a major increase in stable long term funding as well as extensive reforms to increase the efficiency of the system, require coordination of fares, and avoid service duplication."

Rest assured, especially with the current version of Section 12b of the proposed Act, you won't get the "as well"s in actuality, although the legislators will claim that they will have delivered them. Remove the "upon the affirmative vote of 9 of the then Directors of the Authority" language first.