Analysis of CTA's 2009 budget: big job cuts, hike in fuel bill
Last week I published an analysis of the fare increase proposed for 2009. Today we'll look at the overall budget.
One detail of the budget that was lost in the noise of the fare increase is the elimination of almost 400 operations, administrative and support staff jobs at the CTA. Of those, there will be 210 fewer administrative jobs, and 186 fewer maintenance and facilities operations positions. This total of 396 includes the 80 jobs that are being cut this year.
Also, the CTA is cutting 236 positions that were funded by capital projects. This job reduction is primarily composed of track flagmen, customer assistants and towermen associated with construction projects. With decreased construction activity in 2009, fewer of those jobs will be needed.
Expense for labor accounts for nearly $1 billion -- $890.6 million to be exact -- or 67% of the over operating budget of $1.324 billion.
Diesel fuel expense will $102.8 million, or a whopping $54.4 more more than the CTA's original 2008 budget. The cost of electric power for revenue generating equipment is $40 million, or 13% higher than the 2008 amended budget.
Ridership. The CTA is projection a tiny decline in ridership of 0.12%, to 517.8 million rides. The CTA expects bus ridership to drop by 6.6% to 309.5 million. But that will be offset by an expected 8.1% increase in rail ridership to 208.3 million.
Revenue. System-generated revenue is expected to increase 9.7% in 2009, primarily due to the proposed fare increase. The CTA reports: "If CTA’s fares were adjusted for inflation as tracked through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the last 10 years, CTA current pass fares cost less than they did 10 years ago."
The CTA is required by state statute to cover at least 50% of its costs with system-generated revenue. The 2009 budget estimates the CTA will recover about 52.7& of its expenditures with revenues -- about $601.1 million.
The CTA expects to get $723.3 million from public funding. Of that, $655.8 million will come from the state and RTA via the sales tax. The remaining $67.5 million will come from Chicago's real estate transfer tax.
Budget hearing. A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at 6 pm Wednesday, Oct. 29, at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St. Written comments can be submitted to Gregory Longhini, assistant secretary of the board, CTA, PO Box 7567, Chicago, IL 60680-7567. Email comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for comments is Nov. 5.
The CTA must submit the budget by Nov. 15 to the RTA.