Thursday, March 26, 2009

CTA plan would avoid service cuts, fare hikes

Well I almost would have thought "DOOMSDAY" talk was back in style!

Greg Hinz:
The Chicago Transit Authority is floating a plan to close a $155-million budget hole without raising fares, cutting service or boosting the size of its public subsidy.

But the proposal faces a very tough sales job in Springfield, where lawmakers would have to agree to allow the CTA to at least temporarily reduce contributions to its employee pension plan.

Under the proposal from CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown, about half of the projected $155-million hole in the CTA's $1.3 billion annual budget would be filled by using federal economic-stimulus funds. Some of that money would be switched from capital to maintenance, a switch allowed under federal law, and some is anticipated savings as the agency reaps the benefits of new buses, track work and other projects that stimulus funds are providing.

Another $18 million would come from internal savings, with about $30 million borrowed from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which has talked about temporary loans to the CTA, Pace and Metra to tide them through a deep recession.

But the key to the plan is $40 million Ms. Brown would like to save by reducing mandatory CTA contributions to its pension fund.
Why is it the CTA is always having their hands out? Seems to me they need some house cleaning and that means balancing their books. I hope that the last think they would do is to raise fares, however.

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