Conscious Choice has graded the City of Chicago on 11 aspects of sustainability, one of which is whether we have a “world class transit system.” The magazine didn’t just pull their B- grade out of a hat, they asked some knowledgeable folks:
“Dr. Howard Ehrman from the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization says that no other city in the U.S. ‘comes anywhere close to the lack of funding for public transportation than the city of Chicago.’ Ehrman says that for the last 32 years the city has spent $3 million per year, or $1 per person out of the city’s budget, on the CTA. The next city up the ladder, Pittsburgh, spends $33 million, and only has a population of 334,562: ten times as much as Chicago spends, for just one-tenth of the people. New York City spends $200 million, Los Angeles, $165 million. Clearly, here is one obvious opportunity for rather substantial change.’
“According to Jackie Leavy, of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, which looks out for the meaningful neighborhood use of tax money, Mayor Daley should use some of the money from the lease of the toll road and the underground parking garages to bolster the CTA. ‘The city gives only three million dollars a year to the agency and goes begging to Springfield when fiscal crises loom. It is time for the mayor to use more city money to repair and improve the CTA. It is also time to get the universal fare card going to allow transfers between suburban and city transit.'”
There’s more, but no discussion of the ghastly prospects on the Red Line, and no mention of the rampant corruption within the Daley administration. What were they thinking? For a realistic assessment, see Greg Hinz’s piece at Crain’s.