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Chicago Tribune

Fixing transit to be a marathon

I grew up in and lived in Chicago for 45 years. Transit used to be operated more like a private business, but has evolved into more of a social service agency in recent years. Through the 1960's CTA used to survive from the farebox, for capital and operating costs. In the 1970's we started using federal money for new buses. The real killer was the unfunded mandate, passed in 1991, called the Americans with Disabilities Act. For most agencies, that drove farebox recovery rates below 25%. If the Feds are going to drive up costs, however well justified, they should help with funding. My personal solution to deteriorating CTA service, was to load a U-Haul truck, in 1990, and head for Seattle.  (Jan 19, 2008 | post #14)

Chicago Tribune

50 cars pile up in Fla.

The operative statement was that the fire started as a controlled burn. How sad, all these people maimed because of someones incompetence.  (Jan 9, 2008 | post #5)

Chicago Tribune

Transit unions fear demise of deal on pension, health care

A strike is not the end of the world. They are survivable. In the 1980's we lived on the far north side, and my wife worked downtown. A CTA strike occured prior to Christmas. My wife got to work everyday, on time. So did I.  (Nov 18, 2007 | post #14)

Chicago Tribune

CTA's other crisis: Rehab needs billions

There's no simple magic pill solution. Through the 1960's the fare box provided for operating and capital costs. The fare was 25 cents, about the same as the current fare, adjusted for inflation. CTA has a problem with unfunded mandates, as most governmental bodies do. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 with miriad access requirements, but no funding. The oldest parts of the L system are 110 years old. In 1964 they had to raise the support pillars on the entire Lake St. L line to level the track. Overly generous labor contracts don't help, since 85% of the CTA's costs is labor. Why are taxpayers being asked to provide generous defined benefit pension plans, when they, themselves have had to switch into defined contribution plans? Prior to World War 2, Chicago was a text book example of Smart Growth. Post war development chaged all that, as housing and employment generated increible amounts of low density suburban sprawl. I lived in Chicago for 45 years, and had employment within the city for onlyt three of those years. My last job was 8 miles from home, and I drove every day for 10 years, which only took 15-20 minutes each way. It would have been almost three hours each way on public transportation. My solution to have a world class city, with a world class transportation system, was to pack up a U-Haul truck and move to Seattle. Yes, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  (Nov 10, 2007 | post #5)

Chicago Tribune

CTA's other crisis: Rehab needs billions

There's no simple solution. Through the 1960's everything came from the farebox, both operating and capital. Then the fare was 25 cents. The current fare is roughly the inflation adjusted equivalent. CTA has a problem with unfunded mandates, like most government bodies. They're subject to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with out any reimbursement. Overly generous union contracts don't help. Why should taxpayers have to fund definened benefit plans for employees, when they only get defined contribution plans from their employers. Pre World War 2 Chicago was a text book example of Smart Growth. That changed with post war patterns of development that created unending suburban sprawl.I lived on the north side for 45 years, but all but two of my employers were in suburban locations. On my last job, I drove every day for 10 years. It only took 15 to 20 minutes, versus almost 3 hours on public transportation. Then there's the question of how functionally obsolete the L system is. In 1964 they had to raise the columns on the Lake St. L route to level the track. The oldest parts of the L are 110 years old. My solution, to have a world class city, with a world class public transportation system,to live in, was to load a U-Haul truck and leave Chicago for Seattle.  (Nov 9, 2007 | post #93)

Chicago Tribune

Employee gets probation, pays $530,000 for embezzlement

A sad commentary on our justice system, when this lady gets probation, and a shoplifter, who took one shirt, got 30 days.  (Nov 8, 2007 | post #9)

Chicago Tribune

CTA approves 'doomsday' cuts

You're right, the CTA doesn't currently operate paratransit service, but it did until July 1, 2006, when PACE assumed responsibility for the six county area. Since the ADA mandates an equal number of hours of paratransit service to routed service, it's still a major drain of resources, and a major part of any funding crisis.  (Nov 8, 2007 | post #49)

Chicago Tribune

CTA approves 'doomsday' cuts

The Americans with Disabilities nAct requires the same number of ours of service be provided for paratransit as is provided for routed service.  (Nov 7, 2007 | post #40)

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