Crain's: Fire Kruesi; airport express trains shelved
Crain's Chicago Business takes a double shot at the CTA this week: First, an editorial Monday calling for CTA President Frank Kruesi's head. Then a report Tuesday that the CTA "is shelving plans for express train service from the Loop to O’Hare and Midway airports—at least for now—in favor of pared-back, non-stop service that would be privately run."
In the editorial, Crain's notes: "No great city of Chicago's size can thrive for long with such a sub-par transit system. Efficient, reliable public transportation is the linchpin of urban living. Cities like New York and Washington, D.C., manage to provide it. If Chicago can't, we'll lose people and jobs to cities that can."
The editorial then places blame squarely on Kruesi, and calls for Mayor Daley to replace him:
"The agency's president spins out grandiose visions of a new Circle Line and below-grade busways but can't make the trains run on time. Meanwhile, he blows hundreds of millions on an ill-conceived "super station" at Block 37 and tries to sneak through secret pension sweeteners for himself and other top brass.
"Clearly, this is not the crew to take the extraordinary action needed. An outsider with proven expertise in repairing broken transit systems must be brought in with authority to overhaul the CTA from top to bottom, both financially and operationally. Only Mayor Daley can make that happen. Don't delay, Mayor Daley."
Strong words, solid argument.
In the express train report, Crain's notes the "proposal stops well short of the 20-to-25 minute express service the CTA had envisioned in earlier planning documents. Instead, to save as much as $1.5 billion in projected capital costs, the private firm would run airport-only trains in between regular service on the Blue Line to O’Hare and Orange Line to Midway.
"That means riders would get to the airports in the same time they do now, roughly 45 minutes to O’Hare and 30 minutes to Midway. But, it would be considerably cheaper than taking a taxicab to either airport."
And considerably MORE than the $2 us regular schmoes pay for regular service. But the CTA has to justify the cost of the $200 super-station beneath Block 37.