CTA avoids fare hikes by using capital funds to balance budget
The CTA will transfer almost $129 million in cash originally earmarked for station fixups and new buses to help fill $155 million budget hole this year.
CTA officials laid out these details for the agency's board at last week's meeting:
- Reduce the injuries and damages reserve fund: $10 million
- Savings on labor costs: $3.8 million
- Savings on fuel and power expense: 1.5 million
- Transfer to preventive maintenance from capital: $128.6 million
- Additional RTA funding: $8 million
- CTA sale-leaseback funds: $2.8 million
CTA Chairwoman Carole Brown also expressed her displeasure with the RTA upon learning that the $56.1 million promised by RTA last month to retire the 2008 deficit would have to be repaid. The CTA originally was told it would be a grant, not a loan. The CTA has until 2011 to repay it.
CTA President Richard Rodriguez warned that fare increased and/or service cuts are still possible for 2010 and 2011, the Sun-Times reported:
"It’s not as if we can completely rule out fare increases and service reductions,” Rodriguez told the CTA board Wednesday. “We are aggressively looking at ... other ways to tighten the belt.”
Ridership still up over last year. There was some good news at the meeting. Ridership remains strong this year over last year, with a 2.5% increase systemwide. Rail ridership is up 4.8% year-to-date, with Brown Line riders causing the biggest jump at 12.2%.