One Chart Explains All the Chicagoland Transit Reform Proposals

Several different proposals to fund and govern Chicagoland’s transit system have recently been floated by various area politicians and interest groups. Streetsblog has created this handy chart to compare each of the proposals to one another, and to how the system currently works. Click to open the chart in a new window.

The chart compares the existing system and four proposals:

The chart will be updated as more information becomes available and as new proposals emerge, so check back as events happen.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Transit Future needs to get a little more definition if anyone wants to consider its plans.
    1) No reform of the numerous boards, committees and appointments.
    2) Hasn’t nailed down their funding source(s).
    3) Needs to make it clear if there is going to be all these new buses lines out to the suburbs that the City of Chicago taxpayers are not going to burdened with higher sales taxes to support it.

  • Kim

    Does the fact that this is an election year make these reform proposals more or less viable? Could transit reform become an election issue, or are the politics too difficult?

  • The Transit Future campaign is purely about creating a funding source so I don’t think #1 is necessary.

    Everyone agrees that transit needs more funding if we expect more people to use it (and for it to be cheaper to run in the long-term because of higher maintenance costs for old stuff).

  • I think so. Governor Pat Quinn will at some point reveal his choice for dealing with the transit reform, but only after a legislator (or group) introduce a bill.

  • Nice piece of work…thanks!

  • I’m not so sure. The Illinois General Assembly has shown throughout history that it does not open the RTA Act until doomsday is upon us. Doomsday being defined as a fiscal crisis that threatens service shutdown, which we had upon the creation of the RTA in 1974, the reorganization of the RTA into service boards (creation of Metra and Pace) in 1983 and the operating shortfall that the agencies experienced leading up to changes to the RTA Act in 2008. This is a political and governance problem that I wouldn’t necessarily label it a crisis from the perspective of the ILGA. After all, when you open the RTA Act, everyone gets burned. There is not presently a fiscal crisis that rewards inaction with service shutdown.

    This, of course, isn’t to say that nothing should be done. I think events have shown that some change to how mass transit is governed and operated is almost definitely needed.

  • I think the inherent weakness of Transit Future is the fact that it is really only looking at transit from a Cook County perspective. Sorry, this is a metropolitan region in which people travel across county borders and hence require regional solutions. Therefore, funding must come regionally, as it currently is.

  • Thanks and you’re welcome.

  • I don’t think the exclusion of other counties is an “inherent” weakness or even a weakness.

    The majority of the region’s population is in Cook County, interfaces with Cook County, and TF includes projects outside Cook County.

    The success of TF may inspire other counties to join. It’s drawing the line: join us or be left behind. It’s also a way for Cook County – and the other counties – to not have to wait for the ILGA.

  • Coolebra

    Waiting for the region to get on board is a death nail.

    Cook needs to lead and let others catch-up, or be left behind.

    Here’s a multiple choice question:

    If Cook County doesn’t do it, who will?

    A. IDOT
    B. The Illinois General Assembly
    C. The operating agencies
    D. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
    E. None of the above

    We all know the answer, and, no, the answer is not “C.”

    The only choice pits genuine progress against the status quo – as it currently is.

    “As it currently is” is what desperately needs to change.


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