I’m afraid they’re at it again. A crisis is looming, the CTA is about to impose draconian service cuts and fare increases, and the Governor and state legislative leaders are doing nothing.
You might recall I sent you an e-mail last September asking you to contact our governor and state legislators demanding that they enact a permanent solution to the CTA funding crisis. The Governor responded with a short-term fix that borrowed money from next year’s fund to pay for this year’s shortfall. He promised to devise a more permanent solution before that money ran out.
Guess what? Nothing happened, and the money is about to run out, leaving the CTA and other transit agencies in even worse financial shape than before. If a solution is not devised soon, 53% of all CTA bus routes will disappear in less than three months, including every lakefront express bus currently serving Rogers Park and Edgewater.
Some of the routes will be dropped beginning November 4th, others in January. As the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce pointed out in a recent e-mail blast, “if nothing is done, you can say goodbye to the #136 Sheridan/LaSalle and the #147 Outer Drive Express–and enjoy the sole remaining route, the #151 Sheridan, and the Red Line, both of which are sure to be slower and more crowded than ever.”
Other important bus routes affecting our ward, will also vanish, including the #96 Lunt, the #97 Skokie, the #201 Central/Ridge, the #205 Chicago/Golf and the #206 Evanston Circulator. And PACE will eliminate all its service after 7 p.m.
To rub further salt into our wounds, fares will rise between 11 and 63 percent. All told, the Governor and General Assembly’s failure to act will result in the most devastating transit cuts in history. And if you drive to work, and don’t think this affects you, think again. All roads leading into and out of the 49th Ward will be jammed pack, as transit riders without any alternatives take to their cars.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The Governor and the General Assembly have before them a reasonable proposal. The measure, sponsored by State Representative Julie Hamos, who represents the northern part of the 49th Ward, would permanently solve the transit funding crisis by providing a steady stream of reliable revenue.
In order to enact that or any other measure to save the CTA, a bill must pass both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois State Senate and be signed into law by the Governor.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan says he will convene the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday to vote on the Hamos bill, and is confident it will pass. All our local state representatives have announced they support the Hamos bill.
But inexplicably, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones does not even plan to call the Illinois Senate into session until next week, after the cuts go into affect. And Governor Rod Blagojevich says he opposes the Hamos bill, but has not presented any alternative, other than to borrow even more money from another state fund.
NOW is the time to make your voice heard.
Please e-mail or call the statement below to our governor and legislators, and tell them that these transit cuts and fare increases will devastate Rogers Park, Edgewater, the City of Chicago and the entire region. Thank our state representatives for supporting the Hamos bill. Ask our state senators to demand that Senate President Jones call the Hamos bill for a vote or come up with another acceptable permanent solution.
As a resident of the Rogers Park/Edgewater community in Chicago, I implore you to find a permanent solution to the mass transit financial crisis–not another bail-out or quick fix–before the November 4th CTA service cuts and fare increases go into effect. I sincerely hope that you will join with you colleagues to solve this crisis that will severely harm hundreds of thousands of people across the city and region, and damage the economy and the region’s world-class status.
Governor Rod Blagojevic
Phone: 217-782-6380; 312-814-2121
Senate President Emil Jones, Jr.
Carol Ronen (7th District)
Ira Silverstein (8th District)
Jeff Shoenberg (9th District)
House Speaker Michael Madigan
Harry Osterman (14th District)
Lou Lang (16th District)
Julie Hamos (18th District)
Thanks again for your help.