Big CTA deficit prompts finger pointing
An incredulous CTA board shook their collective heads at Wednesday's board meeting and pointed their index fingers squarely at the RTA. And the RTA returned the favor, as internecine squabbling over the projected $87 million deficit for 2008 ensued.
The Tribune reports that CTA Chairwoman Carole Brown expressed " 'disbelief' that the RTA is acting so late in the budgetary process to tell the CTA about 2008 shortfalls."
Meanwhile, RTA's Executive Director Steve Schlickman said, "I believe myself and my staff have been working with the CTA as cooperatively as possible."
As I wrote Tuesday, I'm not surprised that the tax revenues are down, thus creating the shortfall. Nor should the CTA be surprised -- at least about the projected $141 million 2009 deficit. But I do see Brown's point when she says: ""I'm confused. How can we amend 2008 budget marks in February 2009?"
After all, it is the RTA's responsibility "to ensure financially sound, comprehensive and coordinated public transportation for northeastern Illinois."
But it does sound like the RTA is taking that responsibility seriously. "We are scraping every cash source that we can," Schlickman said, including trying to borrow $120 million.
We'll have to hold our breath and fare cards to see how successful that effort is in this tight credit market.