Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CTA brightens outlook, must still find $53.7M

Injections of federal and state funding have helped brighten the Chicago Transit Authority's gloomy budget outlook, transit officials said today.

The CTA still must find $53.7 million to balance its 2009 budget.

But the gap is markedly smaller than the projected $244 million shortfall that the CTA recently faced to wipe out red ink left over from 2008 as well as address this year's budget, said Paul Fish, CTA vice president of budget and capital finance.

"We are making progress," said CTA chairman Carole Brown, who only a month ago characterized the situation as a looming budget crisis that could lead to impacts on service.

The Regional Transportation Authority agreed to cover a $56.1 million public funding shortage for 2008.

In addition, a combination of 396 job reductions, a fare hike, federal stimulus money and cost savings have trimmed this year's budget hole from $155 million to $53.7 million, officials said.

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