A combination of increased sales and real estate transfer taxes could be the ticket to allow the CTA and RTA to avoid massive service taxes, reports the Daily Herald.
The key is a half -percent sales tax increase: "A quarter-cent would go to keep trains and buses running, while the other quarter cent would go to suburban counties to build new roads and widen existing ones."
Providing money for roads may provide suburban lawmakers with enough cover with voters.
Suburban lawmakers also fought to change how the money would be divided up:
"Suburban Republican Sens. Dan Cronin of Elmhurst and John Millner of Carol Stream initially opposed the mass transit bailout because 60 percent of the money would have gone to the CTA, 30 percent to Metra and 10 percent to Pace -- despite the suburbs paying nearly two-thirds of the new taxes. The compromise would see the CTA getting 48 percent, Metra 39 percent and Pace the remaining 13 percent."
An eyewitness to the "brush-back" incident at North and Clybourn on Wednesday shares his story of what really happened:
Hi. I am a Chicagoan who witnessed the incident of what happened yesterday morning at the North/Clybourn Red Line station.
I was waiting for the Southbound Red Line on the platform and there was apparently an African-American male who had some mental issues (he was constantly talking to himself in a frustrated manner) waiting for the train as well on the same platform.
When the train was coming into the station he ran across the platform and jumped right at the train as it was coming in. He bounced off the train like a rag doll and landed on the platform with his arm stuck between the platform and the train. Due to his arm being stuck he was dragged on the platform for a short distance before the train came to a grinding halt.
I'm not sure why most media outlets in Chicago say that this unfortunate person was "brushed back", "fell onto the tracks", and was "on the platform when the train struck him". None of this is true. This person actually jumped off the platform and hurled himself onto the face of an incoming train.
The following reader Tattler Tale ranks right up there with my Top 10 favorites. Carrie reports:
Heartwarming story from this morning: As I was boarding a 2-car purple line train at Howard, a man getting on behind me accidentially stepped on my shoe, which slipped off my foot and fell down between the car and platform.
I stood there in shock as the man apologized. I muttered "it's okay" and hobbled off, with one bare foot, to find a CTA person to help fetch my shoe after the train pulled out.
I found a friendly CTA guy in the little booth and he accompanied me back to the train, which is still standing in the station.
To my surprise, he asked the conductor to pull forward so he could try to get my shoe before the train left, so I could still catch it! The conductor pulled ahead, he climbed down, and fetched it.
But just as he was about to hand me my shoe, he suddenly pulled it back, only to present it again with a flourish, Cinderella-style, for me to slip my foot into it!
I laughed, thanked him again and again, and hurried off to catch the train, which was still waiting for me! After years of riding the CTA, with plenty of horror stories of my own, it was great to have a very sweet, funny experience with an extremely helpful CTA staff member.
"Emergency in North/Clybourn subway. SB Red rerouted over the top."
Later that morning, The Tribune reported that someone waiting for the train on the North/Clybourn platform apparently got too close to the train as it entered the station and was "brushed back" (hit) by the train.
Service went "over the top" for about 20 minutes but was then restored in the tunnel.
True confession: I huge fear of being "brushed back" on a train platform. I have this unfounded fear of bending over to pick up something as the train comes whooshing into the station.
Meanwhile, over at Metroblogging Chicago, Fuzzy Gerdes tells his story of being in the last car of the train the hit the guy, and -- surprise -- not getting a lot of information about how to evacuate the train or about what exactly happened.
On Wednesday July 11th, transit advocates from Northeastern Illinois including the Transit Riders’ Alliance, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Illinois Public Interest Research Group, Metro Seniors In Action, and Progressive Public Affairs traveled to Springfield to lobby in support of transit funding. Those in attendance spoke with 20 Senators and 25 Representatives, and while few were opposed to additional transit funding, many were not fully informed about the situation. Like everything else in Springfield, transit has taken a backseat to the budget and has not received the attention it is due.
That’s why we’re headed back to Springfield for another…
Transit Lobby Day
Wednesday, July 25th
FREE BUS FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO PROVIDED! (RSVP required)
And as the end of July approaches, it is a crucial time to remind the General Assembly and the Governor that the transit crisis must be resolved before session is adjourned. For this lobby day we will have a free bus to take us to Springfield in the morning and return us that same evening. The bus will leave from downtown Chicago (exact location TBA) at 6:30 AM and return at 9 PM. Please plan on joining us for this very important day! If you are new to lobbying, we will provide tips on how to talk to legislators, materials to give them, and the best places to find them.
For questions or to RSVP, please contact Emily Metz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-269-4070.
When you call, please explain that you heard about the lobby day from the Transit Riders’ Alliance.
In the last few weeks I have noticed my evening commute getting more and more crowded. So I asked the CTA for ridership stats, and they seem to bear that out.
Before the two-year three-track project kicked off in April, the CTA did a good job of promoting alternatives bus routes to the Brown and Red Lines. And at first, it appeared that riders were responding to the call for them to use bus alternatives.
The CTA reports that rail entries in that area were down 9.5% in April compared to a year ago, but by June were only down 4.7%. Bus ridership was up 12.5% in April, and up 8.7% in June.
It's seems like human nature. People hear that train lines are not all that crowded, and they start switching back to them from the buses.
But remember people, this is a two-year project, so let's keep using those bus alternatives.
You want slow zones repaired? Brace yourself for more station closings this weekend and overnight for a few weeks.
Blue Line: "This weekend CTA will temporarily suspend service on the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line between Western/Milwaukee and Clark/Lake on Friday, July 20 from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday, July 23. Bus shuttles will operate as a substitute for rail service making stops at Western, Damen, Division, Chicago, Grand, Clark/Lake, Washington, Monroe and Jackson. CTA customers are advised to allow extra travel time."
Also, "weeknights through August 31, single tracks will typically be in effect from Grand to Division from 9 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning, Monday night through Friday morning."
Red Line: "Southbound Red Line trains will temporarily operate on southbound Purple Line tracks at the Jarvis, Morse and Loyola stations from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday July 23 – August 2. Southbound Red Line trains will be unable to stop at the Jarvis, Morse and Loyola stations due to track maintenance work to eliminate slow zones."
Also, "Southbound Red Line trains will temporarily operate on southbound Purple Line tracks at Argyle and Lawrence stations from 10 p.m. Friday, July 20 to 6 a.m. Sunday, July 22. Southbound Red Line trains will be unable to stop at the Lawrence and Argyle stations due to track maintenance work to eliminate slow zones.
CTA rehires "Bemont" map misspeller. A CTA panel has ruled that former CTA President Frank Kruesi overreacted when he fired a manager for not noticing new rail maps had "Bemont" misspelled. To my memory, that firing was the fastest Kruesi had ever responded to any CTA problem. And now it turns out that decision was overturned. What a legacy.