Carole's budget fix: reduce pension funding, get RTA loan, make internal cuts, shift stimulus funds
CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown hopes to avoid service cuts and fare increases with a smorgasborg plan that "faces a very tough sales job in Springfield," Greg Hinz reports on his Crain's Chicago Business blog:
"Under the proposal from CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown, about half of the projected $155-million hole in the CTA's $1.3 billion annual budget would be filled by using federal economic-stimulus funds. Some of that money would be switched from capital to maintenance, a switch allowed under federal law, and some is anticipated savings as the agency reaps the benefits of new buses, track work and other projects that stimulus funds are providing.
"Another $18 million would come from internal savings, with about $30 million borrowed from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which has talked about temporary loans to the CTA, Pace and Metra to tide them through a deep recession.
"But the key to the plan is $40 million Ms. Brown would like to save by reducing mandatory CTA contributions to its pension fund."
Crain's reports the House Speaker Mike Madigan and Mass Transit Committee Chairwoman were less than thrilled about the ideas, especially after all the wrangling to get a pension deal (page 3) in place early in 2008.
The RTA "generally supports the proposal," which Brown said she will present at the April 7 CTA board meeting.
So, ummm, good luck with that!
Paulina Brown Line station reopens April 3. Yeah!