Monday, January 7, 2008

More news about the transit issue

It doesn't look like the Governor is able to pull another rabbit out of the hat like he had on two occasion to keep CTA operating at their current levels. Story from Crain's...
With 13 days to go until the Chicago Transit Authority's so-called "doomsday" service cuts and fare increases, Governor Rod Blagojevich is urging lawmakers to pass a long-term transit funding plan.

At an afternoon news conference, the governor introduce a cross-section of CTA, Metra and Pace riders he says would be hurt by the planned cuts — including students and people with disabilities.

Blagojevich says he's "loathe to suggest" a third temporary bailout is possible, and he's cautiously optimistic that lawmakers will come up with a permanent funding solution when they meet this week.

The governor has twice averted the cuts and fare increases by offering up temporary funding.
And his old stand-by of not willing to sign off on any sales tax increases. Well he's finally backed off of his "campaign pledge". He's willing to consider it now, what took the old goat so long? From Clout Street...
For the better part of a year, Gov. Rod Blagojevich consistently has vowed to veto a proposed sales tax increase to fund mass transit in Chicago and the suburbs.

Today, the governor didn't repeat that veto threat when given the opportunity at a news conference aimed at heading off the CTA, Metra and Pace service cuts and fare hikes that loom Jan. 20.

Asked if he would sign legislation that increased the sales tax, Blagojevich hinted he might be able “to improve” a bill so that enough constituencies are satisfied. If it’s a bill that includes an increase in sales taxes to fund transit, then so be it, the governor said – just send it his way.

“If, however, the legislature believes in that (sales tax) bill, they ought to pass that bill and give me a chance to improve it,” Blagojevich told reporters in Chicago.

“There are a lot of creative things you could with the ability to rewrite legislation and I’ll leave it at that,” he added. “If they believe in that bill, they ought to pass that bill. We want them to pass something and give me the ability to act.”

When pressed on how he would “improve” the bill if he remained dead-set against increasing the sales tax, Blago said only: “Stay tuned. Stay tuned.”
The deadline of January 20th is still on but as of last week it seems like the state legislature or even the governor himself doesn't seem very serious about solving this problem and "Doomsday" is getting closer and closer!

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