Testifying before the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force Friday, the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Peter Skosey argued that the region could significantly increase transit ridership by encouraging jobs and development near existing stations.
Governor Pat Quinn created the 15-member task force last summer in the wake of the controversial ouster of Metra CEO Alex Clifford. Clifford, who received a $871,000 severance, claimed he was forced out by Metra board members because he wouldn’t bow to political pressure on hiring and contract decisions. At the end of the month, the task force is expected to issue recommendations for creating to create a fiscally and ethically sound regional transit system. The public can provide input for the report here.
Speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting, Skosey said the MPC wants to provide backup for the task force as it pushes for transit reform. “We aren’t the only ones holding our breath and waiting for this important report to come out,” he said. “We want to embolden you guys to be as bold as you can be in your recommendations.”
After noting that reducing corruption and inefficiency in public transportation governance is key for making the regional transit system more viable and building public support for more transit investment, he launched into a discussion of how to increase ridership.