TOC poll: CTA doomsday
As you well know by now, the broke-ass CTA is again threatening doomsday fare hikes and service cuts. And, like a penniless stoner fishing for Funyun money beneath couch cushions, the agency will take whatever spare change it can get its grubby little paws on.
Incredible what a little scrounging can do: This week, the CTA managed to find $122 million in its budget, bridging almost half its projected $300 million budget gap, after booting 2,000 bus drivers and other union employees, and preparing to scale back contracts, cut expenses and transfer capital funds to its operating budget. The Regional Transportation Authority is chipping in, calling for an end to Blago’s incredibly foolish free-rides-for-seniors program, which it says would generate about $37 million in new revenue. Oh, and thanks to our junkie-like thirst for high-fructose corn syrup, the CTA secured another $1.4 million over the next five years, reupping a vending deal with Coca-Cola. A five-year parking operations contract inked with Central Parking System will bring in another $1 million annually. And it sounds like CTA prez Richard Rodriguez is not against selling naming rights to El stations or entire lines—just like in Dubai! (See more transit ideas from other cities.)
It remains to be seen, however, whether the agency's early efforts will stave off the fare hikes and service cuts slated for February 7, 2010. In the meantime, sound off on the transit doomsday below.