RTA turns up the heat on CTA to raise fares

Very similar to property tax will increase, CTA fare hikes are the third rail of Chicago politics. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn’t gone close to it, although he did increase the price of some CTA passes.

Now, the Regional Transportation Authority that should approve the CTA price range is popping up the warmth on the Emanuel-managed CTA board to do the unthinkable for a mayor gearing up for what’s anticipated to be a troublesome re-election bid.

In a Nov. eight letter to CTA President Dorval Carter Jr., RTA Government Director Leanne Redden warns that the preliminary CTA working price range submitted to the RTA Oct. 23 “didn’t supply clearly identifiable and dependable income streams” to shut a $33 million finances hole.

The shortfall was triggered by a state finances that features a everlasting, 2 % gross sales tax surcharge, together with a ten % discount in public transportation funds within the subsequent fiscal yr. Redden additionally cites slowing gross sales tax progress.

“Over the previous few finances cycles, the RTA Board has expressed considerations that, in contrast to different main city transit businesses, CTA has not raised its base fare since 2009,” Redden wrote.

“Fare will increase, whereas onerous, are probably the most dependable strategy to generate income and obtain the CTA and regional restoration ratios [requiring 50 percent of revenues to come from fares.] As such, the RTA strongly encourages the CTA to implement a fare improve for 2018 adequate to deliver the preliminary working finances into stability.”

Redden famous that Emanuel’s plan to boost experience hailing charges — by 15-cents-a-journey subsequent yr and one other nickel in 2019 — are anticipated to bankroll $one hundred eighty million in capital enhancements on the CTA. The charge is predicted to generate $sixteen million the primary yr and $21 million the second.

However, she wrote, “as a result of it’s a new income supply, it might not generate enough income to resolve CTA’s price range hole. Furthermore, the said plan is to dedicate this income to capital. Whereas funding in capital is important, CTA wants to deal with the working deficit right now.”

Redden closed with a warning concerning the mass transit equal of the “nuclear choice” — withholding 25 % of the CTA’s working funding if the CTA fails to current a price range that state-mandated restoration ratio.

“This equates to an annual discount of roughly $360 million of regional transit funding, leading to quick service disruptions. None of us need to go down that path,” Redden wrote.

RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard praised…

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