Active Transportation Alliance director Ron Burke at this morning’s event in Pritzker Park. Participants are holding Riders for Better Transit signs.
This morning Active Transportation Alliance held a press conference to announce that the advocacy group and its partners are introducing legislation in Springfield that would raise the state gas tax and index it to inflation. Under this initiative, called Transit Fast Forward, the tax hike would apply only in the six-county Chicago region, and the extra revenue would be used solely to increase funding to the CTA, Metra and Pace.
The new legislation, Senate Bill 3236, is sponsored by State Senator Martin Sandoval, a Democrat from Chicago. Active Trans estimates the hike in state gas taxes in Chicagoland would only be .4 cents per gallon in 2013, costing an average family an extra $4 for the year. But the result would be an estimated $11.6 million in new transit funding next year, and a whopping $168 million increase in funds over the next five years. Continue reading ATA calls for bill to boost transit funds by indexing the gas tax to inflation
Photo of a Blue Line train at UIC-Halsted. This train has the oldest cars in the system, noticeable with their “butterfly doors” that are inaccessible to people using wheelchairs, or customers with bicycles. Photo by David Wilson.
In this edition of Grid Bits, five transit stories, and an update on President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. First, the transit news.
(1) CTA overtime
The Chicago Transit Authority uses an employee’s overtime work to calculate their pension amount, and analysis from the Chicago Tribune finds that the CTA reports overtime in an odd way: Continue reading Grid Bits: State of the Union address, transit news
Portions of the North/Clybourn Red Line station were completely rebuilt using funds contributed by Apple in an example of joint development – a value capture financing tool. Photo by Kevin Zolkiewicz.
Ed. note: Jason Saavedra was a fellow student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. He is now a planning, policy and communications consultant and writes for a blog called the Terre Haute Project in Terre Haute, Indiana. -Steven
As a nation, we are not investing enough money in our transportation infrastructure. We pay for transit, sidewalks, roads, and trails using a set per-gallon fuel tax – an unsustainable revenue source (see note 1) – and the recently proposed MAP-21 surface transportation bill does not propose any new fees or tax increases to ensure that federal money will be available to pay the cost of maintaining our transportation system.
The unsustainable nature of our current transportation funding system is not really news, and Grid Chicago readers are particularly well-informed: we discussed the shortfalls of “traditional” transportation funding in a recent series of posts. But what may be news to you is that forward-thinking local communities are choosing to go the DIY route: they are looking for innovative ways to pay for needed infrastructure investment themselves.
This is where Value Capture (VC) comes into play. Continue reading Value Capture: Financing sustainable transportation
Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein gives a thumbs up to stricter taxicab regulations. This photo was taken on a bike ride with John Greenfield for this article. Okay, he actually wasn’t giving a thumbs up to that, but I can only imagine that he would.
There are six stories in this edition of Grid Bits.
In October, we linked you to the Chicago Tribune’s coverage on unsafe taxi drivers and how it’s sometimes hard to revoke or suspend their driver’s or chauffeur’s licenses. Monday, Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Beale announced proposed changes to the taxi ordinance to deal with this and other issues: Continue reading Grid Bits: Taxi reforms, bike sharing update, crash analyses
If the backside of your Chase Bank credit/debit card has the “blink” text and logo, you’ll be ready for Open Fare.
Soon you’ll be able to pay for a trip on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains with your credit/debit card (provided it has an embedded wireless chip) and NFC-enabled cellphones. Currently all four credit card processors (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) offer cards with contactless chips – they use RFID technology. The Samsung Nexus S is the only widely available cellphone with an NFC chip. This is all part of an upcoming system called Open Fare. It’s not the same as the regional fare payment system that Pace, Metra, and the CTA are legislated to provide by 2015 (where one fare payment method works on any transit vehicle, often called “universal fare”*). Continue reading CTA announces open fare system to come in 2014
[flickr]photo:6168877252[/flickr]Rey Colón, Forrest Claypool and Rahm Emanuel
Yesterday was a busy one for transit-related press events in Chicago. In the morning Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool appeared at the Logan Square Blue Line station, my local stop, to announce their plans to clean and rehab 100 stations within the next year at a cost of $25 million. In the afternoon public transit workers and boosters railed against a Republican proposal to slash more than a third of federal highway and public transportation funding.
I’ve often wondered why the CTA has allowed some of its stations to become so shabby when other systems, like Washington, D.C.’s Metro, have much more appealing facilities. Logan Square was a good example, with crumbling plaster, a dingy, cave-like platform tunnel, and an eternally dripping platform tunnel ceiling. Dismal conditions like these breed discontent from regular customers and discourage potential riders from using transit instead of driving.
Continue reading Emanuel touts “swat team” CTA station renewal; advocates rally against federal cuts to transit