CTA Funding Meltdown


To my fellow riders of that harlot we just cant stand to be without, our beloved CTA we stand by all these years even if she's giving us the run around, I say no more.

The Illinois senate will not concider any funding package increase until Sept 17th, one day after the planned "doomsday" cuts and fare hikes. One reason the budget wasnt passed I hear was the mysterious 30% of the transit package that was called simply "alternatives". How in the face of a deteriorating system with real physical needs can a budget be drawn up without itemized, black and white exspenses? What retards draw this up? It will be interesting to watch this power struggle between the state and the city of Chicago - the state wants to take CTA control away from the city and create a regional transportation organization overseeing Pace/Metra/CTA - and I will watch and enjoy the fight from a cab going down Clark to Jackson - I have finally given up. I will no longer wait for 3 or 4 trains to pass me by at 7:50 am because theres no room. I will not ruin my leather shoes because the stations drains are clogged again and salty snowmelt is pooling up 3 inches. I will not give them the satisfaction of putting $2 of the proposed $3 fare into pension funds from lazy asses that worked there 25 years ago. No No. I will gladly spend an extra $5 + 3 a day on a Pakastani, or Indian man trying to earn a decent living driving a cab. I wont watch 300 Lb ladies sit in a ticket booth eating Wendys while mystified tourists try to figure out how to use the one working ticket machine out 6 and agrivating the commuters who listen to their train rumble away. I will not any longer try to understand how a train going in a straight line can only go 5 mph. And I wall certainly no longer wonder what the source of that smell is comming from the conductor space of the car.

So long CTA, You f*cked me over for the last time.

Sep 8, 07 6:45 pm
vado retro

you're ThEMaN! EP!!!

Sep 8, 07 8:06 pm
Living in Gin

New Yorkers are always shocked when I tell them how well the subway system here runs compared to Chicago's. In the 2.5 months I've been living back in NYC and taking the subway on a daily basis, I've experienced exactly two significant service delays. (One caused by last month's flooding, the other caused by a mechanical breakdown.) Never once had I had to wait more than five minutes for a train during rush hours, and never once have I had to let a train pass by because I couldn't fit on board. I may not always get a seat, but at least I can always board the train... And most of the subway trains I ride are less than five years old; some of the trains are less than a year old.

On Chicago's pathetic excuse of a third-world transit system, I could usually count on at least two or three major delays per week... And even when things were running normally, the CTA was still a nightmare of filth, overcrowding, and incompetence. Their newest subway trains are almost 15 years old, and their oldest subway trains are well over 40 years old... About a decade past retirement age. It's especially galling when they spend millions of dollars in capital funds on stupid high-tech gimmicks that mainly benefit tourists and conventioneers, when they can't even maintain their basic infrastructure in such a way that a bus or train goes from Point A to Point B without some sort of mechanical failure. Yeah, those fancy automated announcements sure do lots of good when the train is crawling through a mile-long slow zone, and those pretty Robert Stern-designed bus stop shelters come in real handy when the bus is stalled 20 minutes away.

It's a shame, because the CTA used to be so much better, but like so much else in Chicago, it's really gone down the toilet within the past ten years or so.... New Yorkers would be rioting in the streets if the MTA were providing service half as shitty as the CTA's. I think Chicago should officially hand over their "The City That Works" slogan to New York until they can get their shit together again.

Sep 9, 07 1:43 am

dear little richie

listen up!

if you want a be the green city mayor you have to take back control of the cta and invest invest invest - transportation is the no. one problem you have to address - look at london as a model - it is expensive but it moves people. transport in chicago is a real embarisment -

this will be your downfall and why you are NOT going to get the olympics

when i was mayor, i trashed the cta - i ignored the problem and transfered power to the rta to get it out of city hall[did it also for schools, parks, housing, etc] - this was a mistake and you have to bring it back into city goverment if its going to survive.

see you soon

Sep 9, 07 2:15 am

thank your fortunes you are not in least you HAVE a public transport system

Sep 10, 07 3:07 am

man, chicago used to be a rock band...the whole world is watching, the whole world is watching,...

Sep 10, 07 7:48 am
vado retro

45 percent of cta's funding is from the state. 75 percent of l.a.s is from the state.

Sep 10, 07 7:59 am

chicago v. london --

1 trip cash fare:

Sep 10, 07 8:28 am

sorry -
chicago v. london[zone 1-3]
london -- 253 miles of rail; 2.7 million trips per day!!!
chicago 222 miles of track--650000 trips per day


note: london does not have transfer system and i will use $2/1£ just for simplicity
1 trip cash fare -- london $8.00 chicago $2.50-$3.00

oyster v. chicago card
i trip+transfer -- london $5 before 9:00, $4.00 after; transfer X2
chicago $2.00 with $.25 transfer

1 day pass -- london $14.60 before 9:00; $9.20 after [$12.20 zone 1-2]
chicago -$6.00

weekly pass -- london $54.80 [[$46.40 zone 1-2]
chicago $23.00

monthly pass --london $210.60 [$178 zone 1-2]
chicago $84.00

yearly pass -- london only -- $2192 or $182/month

if you are a full time student you get a 1/3 reduction on weekly - yearly passes so monthly would cost you $146.00

chicago is out of line $$$ and look at the how the rail system is so underutilzed!!! too many miles and not enough riders!

Sep 10, 07 8:49 am

if chicago invest in its public transport system and take 1 mil drivers off the road - just think -- they can reduce the $$$ they are flooding into the road system --

its not the cost of the system but the speed, reliability, smell, and access that is its downfall -- untill it addresses this - its like watching turd move around a toilet bowl before they head to thier destiny.

london is pouring millions into its transit - it knows this is the only chance to have a cleaner city.

Sep 10, 07 8:57 am

Chicago is at the mercy of the wider state government. Anger directed at the city is, in my view, mis directed. State government, like federal government is so bitterly partisan, politicians no longer answer to public outcry. They answer to their party whips and leaders only.

Many american transit systems are well over half publicly funded.
as it stands (according to the cta) it is only 48% funded, yet has more miles of track than virtually every other system. Slow trains, dirty stations, tracks in disrepair wont get fixed untill the CTA's budget can do more than just meet operational costs.

Sep 10, 07 9:51 am

well the state republicans want to give them the money but they want the CTA to be under control of a regional body overseeing the 3 transit systems - Metra, CTA and PACE (which I didnt know but is the 13th most extensive system in US) Pace is the intra suburban system, and Metra is the regional comuter train lines running on freightrails.

Did anyone notice that the down state and exurban members voted no because they werent getting enough money for NEW road projects even though they cant mantain the fucking roads they got now?

Sep 10, 07 10:11 am

chicago history;

richard j daley - mayor for 21 years --

turned is back on major controversial departments within the city through the burden on others
--got rid of the schools
--ripped out most tree lined boulevards within the city [ashland ave for example] to make traffic move quicker
--public housing to cha
--public transit to rta

richard m daley -- now mayor for some 18 years

--took back control of the schools by board appointments and got school funding through brother [via clinton]
--replanted all the trees the old man tore out
--through various housing / affordable programs required with larger scale housing projects
--nothing for rta -

where a governer get only 8 years max - the daley's have had almost 40years -- he has to take a much stronger leadership role -- it is his city
richie runs the state - he got ryan elected [a democrat who called himself a replican] and owns bago, madigan etc. he is illinois -

Sep 10, 07 10:15 am
le bossman

wait a minute though. i don't ride the CTA that often, as i don't even live in the midwest. but i do use it whenever i'm in chicago, and i've ridden on it dozens of times, generally on the orange, blue, and brown lines. i've never had any problems or delays. i'll admit that the trains are old, and the el looks like it's about to collapse, but i tried to use new yorks subway one time last fall and especially with the construction found it to be the most confusing experience i've ever had. i left and walked on the street.

Sep 10, 07 10:39 am
le bossman

besides, the CTA works as well as any public transit system should. governments should invest a minimal amount into public transit. taking the train isn't supposed to be an aesthetic experience, it's just a way to get to work. who cares if the trains are old and the bridges are rusted as long as people get to where they're going?

Sep 10, 07 10:41 am

yeah... it's unfortunate... the whole thing is effed up...

i wish people outside of the city could understand the economic and social benefits of an urban mass transit system... but everyone just sees $$$$.

eh well, my only advice...

buy a bike, get a gym membership, keep your shoes in your desk and learn how to flip off cellphone inhibited drivers who pull out in front of you... (faster commute, good excercise, less reading time)

perhaps the systems will go into complete disarray, then to be reformed, rebuilt, and championed in a more sustainable moder manner in the near future

Sep 10, 07 10:57 am

TED your right on... i also agree that Daley needs to take a much, much larger role in making sure the RTA gets funded. I think its also important to return the day to day running of the RTA to the people who deal with it. I think the direction current legislation is pointing is the right one. Take the CTA out of the political arena and let it run as a locally controlled public service. Of course it should be under some political pressure from state reps, but a major public utility should never come to forced to a stand still by political bickering.

At the very least, operational and maintenance budgets should always been sound and in place. Capital improvement budgets should be more flexible, but right now, getting tracks in shape and replacing many ageing signals is job 1.

Its going to take patience, the CTA wont fix itself over night, but at least now the issue is in the fore front... something will have to happen, as even those opposed to the tax increases to properly fund the CTA realize that public transit collapse would be catastrophic for the entire state...

Sep 10, 07 11:10 am

bossman - the El does work just fine at off peak hours - its the peak hours, the rush hour that it seems to be overwhelmed. Thats when its needed most.

Sep 10, 07 11:10 am

i have to say i rode my bike in chicago but for me, i am not headed to work when it rains or snows - bikes are just now happy on wet/slick roads

last jan i was in chicago and got on a brownline at diversy about 10:00 am - the car had so much urine smell i immediately got out to the next train - couldnt understand why anyone would sit in that train - the trains leave the shed clean and a couple of trips in they are a toilet and fast food garbage bin - no fault to the cta just the pigs who ride the train -

looked up some transit surveys and the biggest reason why people left the system: cheaper to drive[this is true with a couple driving in]; the trains are not safe; the trains are dirty

but anyway --

good background on the issues -- history of systemic funding problems

Sep 10, 07 11:18 am
work for idle hands
an aesthetic experience

i'm sorry, at what point did the guarantee that when you boarded your regular train at 600 in the evening it would smell as bad as or worse than a dog kennel, the fact that 40 percent of the seats were stained, full of garbage, etc., the fact that you feel wary of even having the soles of your shoes touching the ground let alone your bags, clothing, etc. because the floor is so filthy, trains so crowded one cant even board often times caused by nothing more than some asshole holding the door or blocking the door from closing four stations up the line and the completely indifferent and uninterested conductor just letting it happen and delay the train.... become an issue of 'aesthetics'.

i must have missed that design course in school.

at least in new york you can often 'get out and walk on the street' pretty easily.. or at least relatively more easily. chicago might seem dense until you get the notion to try to walk from point a to b unless point a is city hall and point b is the board of trade... the truth is just as evilplatypus said the alternative to public transit is more logically going to be a cab or car. i walk all the time and am still amazed at how long a trip it can be between places in the central city, and how ridiculous it is that the public transit alternative to walking those routes is either non-existent or worthlessly slow and inefficient.

Sep 10, 07 11:21 am

oddly enough - i was reverse commuting the last couple years to the burbs and had a car. It is still easiest and fastest to get around Chicago by car. It may be exspensive for a singal driver but it its faster and more pleasent. I fear thats the goal - a class based transit heirarchy. As long as you make transit just a little over the threshold of most people's tolerability/ income scale the auto will rule.

Sep 10, 07 11:47 am
Living in Gin

At this rate, the CTA is starting to make Philadelphia's subway system look good by comparison... And that's a scary position to be in.

I don't think Little Big Man Daley has the slightest interest in fixing the CTA... He's even gone so far as to say "mass transit has no constituency" in response to questions about CTA funding. Of course he'd say that; his constituents all ride limousines to work... At least until they get indicted by federal grand juries.

Real reform would involve giving up more autonomy to the RTA, which means the CTA would no longer be the patronage playpen it is now. As it is now, the RTA is fairly toothless, and the three sibling agencies fight over every morsel of funding like three pigeons fighting over a bread crumb.

What's needed is something along the lines of the MTA here in New York, in which the member agencies (NYC Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Railroad, Long Island Bus, Bridges & Tunnels, etc.) are much better coordinated with each other, and where bridge and tunnel tolls go directly toward mass transit funding.

The RTA and the Illinois Tollway Authority (speaking of patronage playpens) need to be merged into a single regional transportation authority, with highway tolls drastically increased and toll revenues used for mass transit. But given the political realities in Illinois, that will never happen in a million years. Imagine the howls of protest from DuPage County if their tolls were increased to pay for the CTA, which most suburban politicians regard as an urban welfare program with wheels.

My prediction: Springfield will raid some pension fund or do some clever accounting trick at the last minute to give the CTA just enough funding to limp along for another fiscal year, until they face their next doomsday scenario the following year. This cycle will repeat itself every year until Hizzoner finally drops dead and makes room for some real political changes in the region... Where it goes at that point will be anybody's guess.

Sep 10, 07 11:56 am

There was a good book from Abu-Lughold called NY, Chicago, LA America's Global cities which the author was perplexed by Chicago's political problems. She cited that NYC region exists over 3 states and multiple counties, as well as federal harbour regulations, and yet by the mid 1980's had streamlined its revenue bodies and transit operations seamlessly. Yet Chicago, which is largely in one county within one state has a nightmarish 3rd world type political atmosphere that cant get anything done until it reaches crisis mode.

Sep 10, 07 12:07 pm
le bossman

i don't know. i'm not saying you guys are wrong, but i've ridden it at peak hours - with my luggage. it's what i would expect from public transit. it isn't the bombay metro or anything

Sep 10, 07 12:08 pm

im with you le bossman.

i take the blue line too and from work every day... its my only means of transportation. and though its often very very crowded... i generally make it too and from work without too significant a delay. I very rarely, if ever, am on trains that smell of urine and are flooded with trash... In my experience, those conditions are limited to 24 hr lines very late at night. i think the condition of the cta is being a bit overblown by some in this city. its bad yes, but its not filled to the brim with urine and trash either.

there needs to be significant improvement because like was said above, if the only market regularly using the CTA is a captive market with no other options, the CTA is really of no benefit to the cleaning up of the city. Granted, as a public utility, there are those who believe the CTA should function only at a minimal level, if the city is serious about long term development, they can not maintain that line of thought.

i agree that the politics of the city are chaotic and often corrupt, but i dont think it is only Chicago that reacts when things reach crisis mode. That is the nature of almost all politics in my mind. People are a million times more prone to reactions than they are to pre-actions.

for instance in KC several years ago... it was not untill the KC, Kansas public schools LOST THEIR ACCREDITATION, that the rest of the city was actually rallied to fix the problem. I can see something similar happening in Chicago.

Daley will get behind the CTA soon, he has to realize that the chance of Chicago winning the olympics (Daley's Baby) the CTA needs to clean up quickly.

Sep 10, 07 12:19 pm
brian buchalski

the detroit people mover is still my preferred transit choice

Sep 10, 07 12:23 pm
Living in Gin

Politically speaking, the Chicagoland region is essentially a banana republic with virtually all political power vested in one corrupt man who will remain in office until he dies, and this man has direct or indirect control over virtually every department or agency in the region... This is thanks in large part to an uninformed, apathetic electorate who have been living under the current system so long they can't imagine any alternative.

Bossman: I've ridden the CTA pretty much on a daily basis off and on since 1993... I also have extensive experience riding subways in NYC, Philly, and Boston. Maybe you got lucky (sometimes things actually work), but once you've ridden in a subway car during rush hour with no A/C and a giant pool of dried vomit on the floor, you start to develop a better idea of the system's current condition.

Sep 10, 07 12:24 pm

I was a Blue Line rider from 97-2000 and it was by far the best. However now I hear its all slow zones do to deterioration. i currently ride the red which is massively overcrowded hence the horror stories. The redline is the one Chicago line that compares to NYC capacity levels yet its only one track ea direction in the tunnels - no room for xpress trains or rerouts. Car gets stuck - everyone out. Which has happend 2 times this year so far to me.

Sep 10, 07 12:48 pm
work for idle hands

fair enough lletdownl but technically i never mentioned urine and the fact that you insinuated it from my analogy means you know what i'm talking about, and i think you are actually despite your best efforts overblowing it yourself by adding superfluous phrases like 'filled to the brim' and 'flooded with' to my factual statements.

and anyway my response was more based on "le bossman's" completely ridiculous statement that somehow the grievances we all experience no matter how big or small on a regular basis whether its slow unreliable service because of old equipment or substandard basic conditions for human beings to be in is equitable with an 'aesthetic' condition like the color of the seats or the design of the platform ceilings is preposterous especially considering the gross number of employees doing next to nothing siting the kiosks (or even the ones emptying the garbage cans) aren't lifting a finger to make sure the trains are at least kept moderately free of garbage/bodily fluids throughout the trip and not just at the endpoints. that's easy, that's business. but you're right lletdownl the cta knows little things like that won't make people not ride so what do they care.. or even better they know that people will like evilplatypus said pay their money and then give up and leave out of frustration.

i don't take the rail system in chicago for granted at all, and i feel fortunate every day that it does exist, but every statement i made in my first post was a true statement of regular conditions i experience and i don't think its asking too much for me or anyone else to expect better.

Sep 10, 07 1:16 pm
le bossman

it wasn't a ridiculous statement, rather it was completely in keeping with my own experiences. i've never ridden a train with bodily fluids or garbage on it, nor was i talking about the 'design' of the trains. i was just playing devils advocate. lighten up.

Sep 10, 07 1:43 pm

well Im glad it exists to - but the point of the thread is to spark a little outrage at what was not so long ago a great system, and as its ridership has increased - 20% in the last 15 years - the service has gotten worse in the last 3 years especially. More money, more riders, worse service - its a cyclical black hole we are spiraling into and I dont know why - I think pensions is one - its like a giant balloon payment happening to come do right now, but also institutional laziness.

By no means is the CTA unbearable - but it needs to be better. The second largest transit system in USA is a joke by comparison to anywhere else in the world. I'd pay $3 per trip - but I would want more. In my case - $3 each way = $6 a day. I could cab it to work for $7 and go home on the train late after rush hour - so that would be $10 a day. If I factored in what my time is worth to my company - it would be better for them to just pay me xtra $14 a day to cab it both ways.

Sep 10, 07 2:10 pm

I agree with you on wanting to spark a little outrage evil..

it is confusing me why people are being so complacent.
i personally have written upwards of a dozen emails to state reps and newspapers but wonder if i am alone in my efforts. It seemed to me that this doomsday predicament would wake people up to pressure Reps to get something done. But there seems to be little interest from politicians and citizens alike.

In public transits case, i feel it is as much the fault of the citizens of Chicago that the CTA isnt properly funded as it is the state legislature.

Sep 10, 07 2:39 pm

I agree Lletdown. I grew up in western burbs, a Metra town. I've always taken for granted how nice and reliable the Metra system is. I guruntee theres a class bias here against the CTA - it's seen by downstaters as a poor people mover. Now that is not the case - its an economic artery of a global city but it seems only NYC has truely understood this. i think Chicagoans know this but our misfortune is that were located in Illinois which may as well be the rural south for that matter. And Chicago's voters are to blame to - for putting up with and thinking corruption and waste is somehow cool or something to be proud of as if hey, we can rob anybody. If Metra had issues this sever I guruntee the riders woul;d demand change and get it.

Ive written the Sun Times, and sent CTA emails also someone posted a form letter generator that went to Blago, Daley and pals from which the mayors office politely reminded me King Richard doesnt have anything to do with the CTA and reminded me to vote.


Sep 10, 07 2:50 pm
work for idle hands

by the way puddles i love the logo on that curtainwall above the train in your photo. its looks like a big raised middle finger to me... the cta should adopt something similar.. it would be appropriate.

Sep 10, 07 2:51 pm

Chitown is in need of another:
I don't think I need say more.

Sep 10, 07 7:44 pm

"Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution"

Sep 11, 07 10:36 am

Report Blasts CTA

(WGN-AM) The head of the CTA is responding to a highly critical report from the National Transportation Safety Board about the July 2006 derailment and fire on the Blue Line that injured more than 100 people.
The report claims the CTA had a management culture, which allowed track maintenance to be deferred, poor safety oversight, and the falsification of track inspection records.

CTA president Ron Huberman says several steps have been and will be taken to improve the condition of tracks, as well as the inspection of El lines.

"We take it seriously. We believe these safeguards are going to take from a position where safety was not carried out the way it should be, as it was reported in the NTSB report, to a position where it is one of the safest transit agencies in the country."

One NTSB official says the conditions found at the CTA were the worst he has seen at any US transit agency.

Sep 12, 07 8:45 am
vado retro

i rode the redline from rogers park to downtown everyday for a coupla years and the only disruption of service i remember is when the cops stopped the train lookin for a robbery suspect...

Sep 12, 07 9:13 am
Living in Gin

CTA woes on the front page of today's Sun-Times.

Jesus Christ, I knew it was bad in Chicago, but I had no idea things were that bad. I'm glad I got out when I did.

Sep 12, 07 9:36 am

LiG im unsure as to why you have such passive aggressive hatred for chicago, but anyway im sure you have a good reason...

Having the CTA's mess-ups all over the front pages of the papers really frustrates me. The Sun-Times, Tribune, and tabloid Red Eye (which, by the way, is far and away the most popular paper on the trains) need to be doing a better job framing this as a massive problem that requires involvement!!!... not some lingering doomsday which no one can avoid.

I continue to be struck everyday by people bitching and moaning about how poor the quality of the CTA's service is... how worthless they are, on and on. I completely agree... but for god's sake! if you Take the cta and your frustrated RIGHT AN EMAIL! it takes 5 Min... and if every CTA rider wrote one to their rep, i am positive funding would be there in a week.

sorry for the rant, its just incredibly frustrating watching all this go down, and i feel its further reinforcing in my mind that Americans have become inexcusably complacent, and consequently, representative democracy as its supposed to function is slowing, and in some cases... has halted.

Sep 12, 07 9:54 am
Living in Gin

I don't hate Chicago; in fact I love the city very much. I just really hate what's been happening to it in recent years, and I'm frustrated by the fact that Chicagoans seem to just accept it with a shrug as if they're watching another losing season at Wrigley Field. I feel like the city I love is turning into a shadow of what it used to be, and that not enough people there give a damn to do anything about it. It's been painful to watch, almost like watching a beloved family member sink into a spiral of self-destructive behavior.

Sep 12, 07 10:07 am

Fair enough, as you can see from my above post, i share in your frustration. I see it as a much more wide spread problem growing in our culture more than i do a problem specific to chicago, but its incredibly frustrating none the less.

Sep 12, 07 10:18 am

Part of what makes reform in Chicago so difficult is that Daley is very effective in marginalizing or supplicating prospective challengers before they even have an opportunity to think about challenging the system. So I think while we'd all like some changes made, who do we go to?

Prime example: Rey Colon, Logan Square's Aldermen.

Sep 12, 07 10:52 am
Living in Gin

Agreed, and that's a huge part of the problem. Daley has the powers of a third-world dictator, and any real opposition has been completely neutered. I honestly don't think the situation will change until he leaves office, which won't happen until he either drops dead like his father, or is led away in handcuffs like so many of his cronies.

Sep 12, 07 11:17 am

I agree, Daley is probably one of the most powerful men, in terms of consolidated political power, in the country... yet he is generally loved by chicagoans. I still think, as far as the CTA goes, people need to be willing to take it up with their State Reps... though Daley could definitely influence it (as he can almost singlehandedly get reps, governors etc elected or not) it is the state legislatures responsibility to make sure the RTA gets the money it needs to improve immediately. I too dont see him getting unseated anytime soon

Sep 12, 07 11:29 am

The only true opposition to the original Daley machine was the westside wards - thre opposition was so sever and the wards so populous back in the 50's that some speculate old man Daley "sold them out" by filling the westside with public housing, dramatically escalating racial tensions and neglecting the infrastructure to punish the dissenting population. Thus DuPage County was born. Theres a book about this amazing time period - called Block by Block - a history of Chicago's westside

No such group within the city limits exists today - but the opposition in DuPage and Lake to Daley is quite formidable - they keep him in check. Remember 2.9 million live in the city while 7 million live in the burbs nowdays

Sep 12, 07 11:39 am
work for idle hands

its not complacency, its hopelessness plain and simple. statements regarding pensions, unclear bugets, mismanagement are absolutely true so what the good goddamned hell is it going to do for me or anyone else to right a "5 minute email" to our legislators saying 'please give the cta its money!!!!'.. so they can continue to squander and waste it. the 'doomsday' plan might be a good thing at this point, it'll be a more promising elliciter of change than garbage trucks full of money being carted to 800 west lake street. (i'd be more concerned about the fact that incidents such as the blue line derailment aren't really accidents as much as well timed 'see this is what happens!!' examples)

so, that being said... i agree that bitching and complaining is a waste of time if you aren't proactive, but on another level i find it just a little bit egregious that we as paying users of a service would have to in order to not get substandard service apparently be required to write letters demanding improvements at all, and when we do write those letters there to the damn government, and that thats our best/only option... really? we certainly as architects don't have that luxury of saying "yeah, ill design your buildlng. but its gonna take a long time cause i don't have the money to buy fancy equipment.. and it might not be right cause i don't have the time to go back and inspect my work to make sure its right.. and that won't matter anyway cause the powers that be will sign off on the work anyway.. but all that being said i'm still gonna raise my fee cause there's a bunch of extra stuff i wanna buy that may or may not relate to your job and a lot of extra people i've already hired work under me" we all know what'd happen if we took that stance.. unfair comparison?, maybe a little, but why does it have to be? i've spent my whole life being not complacent when a disservice is being provided.. but its always been directed at the service provider themslelves and and its always been under the auspices that 'hey, you suck, i'm not happy, and improve or i'm going somewhere else'.. its hard for me and probably a lot of others to get into the mindset that we have to help the government save a service provider when that may or may not even bring improvements. evilplatypus hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the 'secret money' and pension money.. that's not a big motivator for me to give them shit. our state legislators are part of the solution, but not the solution... its mass transit, its america. how many people are righting letters to the feds demanding they help out the airline industries despite the fact that those fuckers continually seem to be pulled out of their own pools of doomsday quicksand (to continue to provide substandard service).. probably not many, but it seems to happen anyway. we love our planes, we love our cars.

i wish that 100 years ago it wasn't for all intents and purposes universally decided in the US that gov. assisted mass transit will forever take a backseat to gov. assisted individual transit, if it hadn't been a lot of us would feel more realistically motivated that pestering the state and federal government would help, but it was and we've inherited the legacy and will continue to have to fight/accept it as is seen appropriate. i personally think its always a fight that is valid, but we just need to take a big step back examine the whole thing and understand the best way to do this. maybe it is the promise of the olympics in chicago's case, that'd fit well with the city's legacy of impulsively building lots of infrastructure for single big events to feed their bloated egos and could be the 'opportunity' that we need (that's a great way to get daley on board), i honestly don't know and that is what frustrates me about the whole thing. but i simply don't think the answer is another government bailout.. its time to move past that or at least not rely on that only. but that of course is just my opinion... take it or leave it. i'm sure most of you will disagree with everything i've said anyway.

Sep 12, 07 11:58 am

I kind of agree with you but you still need to write letters to know your watching them

My biggest concern is that they have very measurable and calcuable expenses and liabilities and the number should be solid - the fact that they are debating the size of the number is telling

Sep 12, 07 12:11 pm

I dont disagree at all, but i would ask what your solution is? The legislation being blocked right now is by no means a bail out. It is a method of permanently funding the RTA so that this situation doesnt happen again. It is also a massive restructuring that will allows the RTA far greater managerial roles with more resources available to encourage proper management of infrastructure and capital.

The notion that people are hopeless implies that people would take action in the first place. I disagree strongly there... i dont believe people would take action. They are complacent because they KNOW they could protest, not vote for Reps blocking funding, write emails and letters to the editor, discuss solutions... but they do not. Thats not hopelessness... Our options are not exhausted, they have not even been utilized.

I think one thing your missing here is that the CTA is, in essence, a public utility. The CTA is here to serve the public yes, but it is the PUBLIC'S responsibility to make sure that the CTA is punished for not fulfilling that responsibility... its irresponsible to allow the CTA to fall into such a cesspool of waste and mismanagement in the first place, but even MORE irresponsible to not fix a problem we all, in a large part, caused.

Sep 12, 07 12:16 pm

there was an incident in I think 1979 when the city was pounded by a string of blizzards interupted by -10 freezes and the CTA would be 1 and 2 hours late - this went on for a few months and an angry mob assaulted a car I think at Belmont, smashing windows and rocking it - i wish i could find historical verification of this

Sep 12, 07 12:31 pm

work for idle hands, you bring up many good points...

the people oustside the city don't want to fund it...

the CTA has no reason to real motivation to improve...

Daley is desperate for the Olympics...

Daley owns Illinois... from now on, I'm directing my compaints toward the Olympic Commitee and CC'ing Daley....

Sep 12, 07 12:34 pm

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