Comment of the day: What is the role of a regional transportation authority?


Photo of a Metra Electric train at Millennium Station by Jim Watkins. Mike Payne has proposed using the Metra Electric system as the Gray Line, run in “rapid transit” fashion by the CTA.

We posted on Tuesday about Metra’s online survey and open houses to gather public input which will help the commuter rail agency develop its strategic plan.

Randy Neufeld commented on that post:

This is an example of what is broken. Metra should not do a strategic plan. Metra, CTA, and PACE should do a strategic plan together. What’s next, competing in Congress and Springfield to fund competing strategic plans? RTA and CMAP should require a unifed transit plan for the region. Transit funding is in crisis. This is no time for Metra to plan solo.

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has existed since 1974 and has its own strategic plan (“The Way Forward”). From its mission statement: “The RTA’s primary responsibilities became [in a 1983 reorganization] financial and budget oversight of CTA, Metra and Pace, and regional transit planning issues”.

The three service boards operate in a well-defined geographic and economic region, serving the same customers, the same communities, connect with each other at the same stations, and even have similar routes. They should be “acting regionally”.