Have your say on Pace’s 2022 budget, which includes service expansion and no fare increases

A Pace bus at the Highland Park Metra station. Photo: John Greenfield
A Pace bus at the Highland Park Metra station. Photo: John Greenfield

Want to weigh in on how Chicagoland’s suburban bus system should be allocating its funding as the region and ridership continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic? Pace will hold eight public hearings in late October on its proposed 2022 Operating and Capital Budget Programs, 2022-2024 Financial Plan for Operations, and 2022-2026 Capital Plan. Four of the meetings will be held virtually and four will be held in person. All of the meetings will be livestreamed with closed captioning at www.pacebus.com/streaming. Pace says the proposed budget includes a fully funded operational budget for fixed route and paratransit services, a “robust” capital plan, and no fare increase.

Pace says that, if approved, the budget will fund the largest service expansion in Pace’s history with $7 million for new fixed route service, $5 million for regional partnerships with ride-hail companies, and an additional $3 million for Dial-a-Ride services.  The proposal also includes what the agency is billing as the largest infrastructure expansion in the agency’s history with more than $300 million in capital projects funded by the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure package, including a $10 million electric bus pilot at Waukegan’s North Division. The continuation of service improvements on Pace Route 352 Halsted, part of the Fair Transit Cook County Pilot Project reduced-fare Metra service pilot, and the cancellation of Pace Route 602 Higgins – Salem – Cedarcrest are also proposed.

If you want to speak during one of the online public hearings, you need to register at least 24 hours in advance and log in to the meeting no later than 10 minutes after the start time. You must also provide an email address to receive instructions on how to access the hearing on Zoom. Registration links are available by clicking on the desired virtual meeting at https://www.pacebus.com/public-meetings.

No virtual public comments may be offered at in-person public hearings. In-person public hearings may be subject to cancellation and substituted with a virtual public hearing held at the same time and date. The same information will be presented at all hearings.

If you can’t attend a public hearing, you can comment on the proposed budget through Pace’s website at https://www.pacebus.com/public-hearing-feedback, by email to public.hearings@pacebus.com, by telephone to 847-354-7943, or by mail to: Pace, Community Relations Department, 550 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL  60005-4412.  All comments must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 29, 2021.

People with disabilities who plan to attend a public hearing in person or wish to view a public hearing virtually and who need accommodations other than transportation, and folks who require translation into a language other than English to allow them to view and/or participate are asked to contact Pace at (847) 364-7223 option 3, no less than five business days prior to the scheduled hearing.

The proposed 2022 budget document will be available after October 20, 2021, on Pace’s website at https://www.pacebus.com/budgets, at most public libraries, township, city, and village offices in the six county Pace region, and at the Pace headquarters, 550 West Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights.

Here’s the public hearing schedule.

The schedule for the Pace budget hearings. Click to enlarge.
The schedule for the Pace budget hearings. Click to enlarge.

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