Legislators get uncomfortable view of unfunded capital needs
State legislators on Friday got a firsthand -- and uncomfortable -- look at just some of the myriad public transit capital projects that need funding for fixing.
The uncomfortable part came in an un-air-conditioned ride on a Pace bus from a Cicero Metra station to a Loop CTA El platform, according to a Daily Herald report. Oh, the irony of it all.
The idea was for the RTA to give state legislators a firsthand look at crumbling infrastructure and vehicles in disrepair on all three area transit systems. The hope is that legislators will finally pass a long-term capital spending bill -- something we haven't had since 2004.
Gov. Pat Quinn would fund a $25 billion bill through an income tax hike. About $10 billion would be earmarked for transit. But some Democratic lawmakers prefer to raise the gas tax, and funnel more of those proceeds to transit, and less to highway spending. Such blasphemy, say the Downstaters!
There are many ideas to fund this pressing need. All we need now is the political will and leadership to get it done before May 31. After that, a supermajority of 60% of legislators must approve any spending plan.