CTA closing funding gap; fare hikes, service cuts may be avoided
A combination of unanticipated federal and state funding and internal CTA cuts may help the agency avoid service cuts and fare hikes this year, the Tribune is reporting:
"We are making progress,'' said CTA chairman Carole Brown, who only a month ago warned that a looming budget crisis could lead to cuts in service.
Since then, the Regional Transportation Authority agreed to cover a $56.1 million public-funding shortage for 2008.
In addition, the CTA is receiving $241 million in federal economic stimulus funds that can be used for projects resulting in savings through more efficient operations. Fare hikes implemented in January are projected to bring in an additional $39 million.
The CTA is still almost $54 million in the hole for 2009. Top brass will present its plan to close the remaining funding gap at the May meeting.
President Richard Rodriguez also shared these news bits in his report at the Tuesday board meeting:
58 hybrid buses on order. Yesterday the CTA inked a $49 million contract to buy 58 more hybrid, articulated buses, using federal stimulus dollars.Next up for stimulus spending are bus and rail car overhauls.
Ridership continues to increase. Overall ridership was up 5.8 million rides for the first three month of the year compared to the same period in 2008.
19 more routes on Bus Tracker April 20. Another 19 routes will be added to the Bus Tracker system on April 20. Details on which routes were not announced in the report. About 84% -- 129 out of 153 bus routes -- will be on Tracker by then.