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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

honte Oct 11, 2007 2:44 PM

^ Not to me. They'll be obsolete for 90% of the population in 10 years anyway.

OhioGuy Oct 11, 2007 3:09 PM

Maybe the city should consider allowing casinos if it's in such desperate need for money? The city has so much business & leisure travel each year that I would assume casinos would do pretty well here. Transit could hopefully get some funding from the casinos as well.

VivaLFuego Oct 11, 2007 4:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3105407)
Maybe the city should consider allowing casinos if it's in such desperate need for money? The city has so much business & leisure travel each year that I would assume casinos would do pretty well here. Transit could hopefully get some funding from the casinos as well.

That's a really complicated can of worms. Hizzoner has wanted a luxury casino in Chicago for some time, but the financials are a disaster. First off, the quality of casinos (in terms of the level of capital investment) is significantly inversely correlated with the local tax rate on gaming wins. Illinois has the highest in the country (at 50%, compared to under 10% in places like Vegas or even aobut 40% in Indiana), hence why our casinos are about the dumpiest because a casino operator doesn't get additional return on their investment with such a high tax.

The bills currently circulating Springfield call for a city-owned, privately-operated (contracted) casino in Chicago, with a ~$700 million license fee just to have the right to operate the thing.

Long story short, the financials are terrible; either you allow dumpy casinos to maximize short term revenue, or cut the tax rate to gradually move upmarket and sacrifice your short term revenue, thereby sacrificing the appeal to politicians who usually only care about financial issues within the next election cycle. And either way, the State is simply trying to pass its deficits off to the city by having us simply transfer several hundred million for the privelege of getting to host a casino that will pay the state tax money.

It's all garbage, and though there may be a potentially workable casino solution wherein everyone wins, we're nowhere near it now, so it shouldn't even be considered for fixing the short-term transit crisis.

Marcu,
Daley is selling the property tax hike as a dedicated funding source for the libraries, so I'm assuming this means $100 million per year for libraries. How is it that every single leading politician in this region: Daley, Jones, Madigan, and above all Blago are all out of their damn minds and completely out of touch with reality? You know it's bad when Mike Madigan appears to be the sane and realistic beacon of maturity.

Marcu Oct 11, 2007 4:19 PM

It appears that there's enough opposition in the city council to block at least some of the tax increases. I think this can be attributed to the perception of Daley finally losing his mind (bickering about museums, libraries, etc. while ignoring the biggest problem facing Chicagoans - transit). Chicagoans are just not stupid enough to believe that Daley really cares about landfill space.

Also, if the Cook County sales tax increase goes through, I expect a push by the western and northern suburbs to form a new county. I can't really blame them. County government doesn't do much. What it does do (eg courthouse, hospitals) is funded at the state level.

Alliance Oct 11, 2007 5:57 PM

As a former west-burber I'd agree with that.

I hate reading this thread...makes me depressed. fixing the CTA should be the highest priority for the city. If Daley can't see that, maybe we need a new mayor.

Haworthia Oct 11, 2007 6:38 PM

In response to Daley being "crazy" all of a sudden, I don't think that's the case. He has a history of playing tough and doing border line things to get his way. Just look at Meigs field. :whip: He tore that up in the middle of the night and he did it right after he go reelected in 2003. Guess, what? Daley just got reelected (again) this year, 2007. He has about two years of grace period to play tough politics before he has to even think about running for reelection again. So expect him to swing his weight around in the mean time.

In regards to Daley not prioritizing transit funding, I don't think that's true. It's just that there isn't much the city can do about it. The city isn't the only one that uses the CTA or Pace services and it couldn't afford to bankroll it all itself. And even if it wanted to try funding the CTA, Chicago is in the midst of trying to plug a big financial hole.

If anyone should bailout the CTA, it's the federal government. Illinois pays more than it's fair share of taxes and gets only a modest amount back.

From the Tax Foundation (note, I'm not endorsing the Tax Foundation), http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/26.html
Quote:

Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures: Illinois is a Donor State
Illinois taxpayers receive less federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid compared to the average state. In 2004, Illinois citizens received approximately $0.73 in the way of federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid. This ranks the state 46th nationally and represents a slight rise from 1992, when Illinois received $0.72 per dollar of taxes in federal spending and ranked 47th nationally. Neighboring states and the amount of federal spending they received per dollar of federal taxation paid were as follows: Wisconsin ($0.82), Iowa ($1.11), Missouri ($1.29), Kentucky ($1.45) and Indiana ($0.97).
That means 46 other states in the country get more money per capita from the federal government! Just doing some math in my head, let's say Illinois with a GSP of $500-600 Billion pays about 25% of what it makes (just a guess), that means we pay $125-150 billion in taxes every year. So 0.27*125-150 billion = 30-40 billlion per year! There's your CTA funding for the next 40 years.

ardecila Oct 11, 2007 8:51 PM

Did anybody make it to the Carroll Avenue meeting at AIA yesterday? I'm interested in hearing what's going on.

VivaLFuego Oct 11, 2007 8:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 3105846)
In response to Daley being "crazy" all of a sudden, I don't think that's the case. He has a history of playing tough and doing border line things to get his way. Just look at Meigs field. :whip: He tore that up in the middle of the night and he did it right after he go reelected in 2003. Guess, what? Daley just got reelected (again) this year, 2007. He has about two years of grace period to play tough politics before he has to even think about running for reelection again. So expect him to swing his weight around in the mean time.

In regards to Daley not prioritizing transit funding, I don't think that's true. It's just that there isn't much the city can do about it. The city isn't the only one that uses the CTA or Pace services and it couldn't afford to bankroll it all itself. And even if it wanted to try funding the CTA, Chicago is in the midst of trying to plug a big financial hole.

If anyone should bailout the CTA, it's the federal government. Illinois pays more than it's fair share of taxes and gets only a modest amount back.

From the Tax Foundation (note, I'm not endorsing the Tax Foundation), http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/26.html


That means 46 other states in the country get more money per capita from the federal government! Just doing some math in my head, let's say Illinois with a GSP of $500-600 Billion pays about 25% of what it makes (just a guess), that means we pay $125-150 billion in taxes every year. So 0.27*125-150 billion = 30-40 billlion per year! There's your CTA funding for the next 40 years.

Therein lying the obvious problem of high-level centralized redistribution of wealth: someone invariably gets screwed.

I agree that the Feds should send Chicago more capital funds. Those are generally distributed based on population, and we have a disproportionately large amount of rail infrastructure, meaning the federal capital funding available is very inadequate (and the state capital funding is tied to this pie-in-the-sky casino cluster).

But honestly, there's no reason the city can't raise the property tax to support transit operations and even capital. Heck, there's even still a taxing district (the Urban Mass Transit District or something like that) that was put in place to support the central area transit plan back in the 60s but currently taxes at a 0% rate. Why not amend and use that to supplement the capital budget, thus allowing CTA to divert it's own discretionary capital to operating funds?

It's pretty simple. Chicago ponies up for transit service (the $100 million property tax hike as well as the .2% real estate transfer tax to balance the pension would solve the problem for a long time), and CTA shuts down any service outside the city limits unless the suburbs also increase their contribution. I'd even go as far as charging an entrance toll to every driver that doesn't have a $75 city sticker, as a fee for using our streets (e.g. pay $5 for entering, or py $75 per year like the rest of us). Call it a variation on the commuter tax. Proceeds to transit, of course. Enforcement could be either by transponder (tollway) or video-camera with plate recognition (London).

spyguy Oct 11, 2007 10:56 PM

Saw this nice rendering of Grand/State on CTA Tattler
http://img461.imageshack.us/img461/6...zanine2bp6.jpg

Marcu Oct 12, 2007 1:33 AM

^ Not bad, but does the city need to put silhouettes of the skyline absolutely everywhere? Even the Day Ryan now has skyline pictures along the walls. It's a little tacky.

Busy Bee Oct 12, 2007 3:44 AM

You're not alone. I hate the skyline tile shit too.

OhioGuy Oct 12, 2007 5:22 AM

I don't mind the use of the skyline.

Busy Bee Oct 12, 2007 2:14 PM

Its not so much that they use a skyline, its that they do it in this entirely cartoony manner, lacking any actual reality, and ends up looking like the box to some kind of erector set type toy. The use of mosaics to depict the skyline would be much more acceptable to me than what we have at the Roosevelt and Chicago stations with those oversized tiles and the Optima not even being letterspaced. The whole thing looks very amateur.

I guess the ultimate reason not to even attempt a skyline though is that even if they depicted it realistically, it would no doubt be inaccurate in a very short time.http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/images/smilies/tup.gif

Marcu Oct 12, 2007 6:08 PM

^ It just looks tacky. Feels like something out of ESPN Zone in Time Square. Plus, these stations are supposed to last a long time. For all we know Chicago will look completely different in 50 years. They should take note of some of the stations in Europe and resort to minimalism (the quality marble, granite, steel, and glass speaks for itself) or use it as public art space.

Chicago3rd Oct 12, 2007 6:58 PM

CTA President Releases 2008 Budget
 
10/12/07
http://www.transitchicago.com/news/c...ticleid=130343

CTA PRESIDENT RELEASES 2008 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS
Continued lack of state funding may force service reductions, fare increase, layoffs for January
In announcing the CTA’s proposed 2008 budget, Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman said that unless the General Assembly reaches a transit funding solution, the CTA will have to institute deep service cuts, lay off employees and raise fares again in 2008. These actions, scheduled to take effect on January 6, are in addition to service cuts, fare increases and layoffs already scheduled for November 4th of this year.

“This budget lays out the current fiscal position of the CTA and the challenges associated with years of insufficient state funding,” said Huberman. “But what the budget does not do is tell the story of the hundreds of thousands of CTA riders and employees who will be put through great hardship if this budget becomes a reality. We at the CTA sincerely hope that we never have to implement this budget. We believe our state leaders are also aware of the harmful impact and that they will reach an agreement to provide new funding for the CTA before the budget takes effect. ”

The proposed 2008 operating budget is $1.034 billion, which is $45 million lower than 2007. The CTA expects to generate $562 million in fares and other revenue and anticipates $472 million in public funding. In order to maintain service and fares at current levels, the CTA needs an additional $158 million in public funding for 2008. This is due to shortfalls in four areas:

The CTA’s funding agency, the Regional Transportation Authority, reduced the CTA’s funding level by $14 million compared to the mark they provided in last year’s financial plan.
The CTA’s public funding is growing at a much slower rate than related expenses. Public funding levels only increased by four percent over the past five years and trailed inflation, which increased by 11.3 percent in the same time period. By comparison, CTA has also experienced substantial cost increases in fuel, materials (due to a lack of capital funds) and security.
Although CTA employees did not receive wage increases in 2007, a pending union agreement would provide a three percent increase in 2008.
Pension and healthcare reforms proposed by the CTA have not been approved by the General Assembly. Without them, the CTA will incur increasingly higher costs for providing these benefits.
(

Because additional funding has not been identified, the CTA has proposed eliminating 43 additional bus routes, laying off 1,799 additional employees and raising fares by at least 25 cents more in January. Starting next week, letters will be sent to employees whose jobs may be eliminated in January.

These actions are in addition to previously announced service reductions, fare increases and layoffs that are scheduled to take effect on November 4th if Springfield does not act. In addition, with 735 fewer buses operating due to the November and January route eliminations, CTA plans to close three of its eight garages. Service on the remaining routes will be provided by other locations.

Combined, the CTA has proposed eliminating 53 percent of all bus routes, for a total of 82 routes; laying off more than 2,400 employees including administrative and support staff; and implementing back-to-back fare increases. In order to minimize the impact on those least able to pay, fares will not be increased for reduced-fare riders (senior citizens, students or individuals with disabilities).

“We have worked diligently with Springfield all year to create a long-term solution to CTA’s structural funding deficit, but with no resolution yet, we are out of options,” said Huberman. “This is not something we want to do. We realize it will cause tremendous hardships for many people who rely on the CTA, but next year the CTA simply will not have sufficient funding to continue providing the same level of service as it does today.”

CTA has grappled with a steep decline in inflation-adjusted funding levels. CTA’s public funding for mainline bus and rail operations trailed inflation by approximately one percent every year. If funding since 1987 had kept even with inflation, the CTA would have received cumulatively $1.6 billion more to operate its buses and trains.

(

Huberman outlined a series of steps the CTA has already taken to reduce its costs and operate more efficiently including eliminating more than 75 administrative positions, deferring pay increases for non-union employees, restricting non-critical overtime and instituting a performance management program. The CTA and its unions have also agreed to an unprecedented 5-year contract—contingent on legislative action—that would enable the CTA to reduce costs and manage itself more like a business, while providing retirement and healthcare reforms to stabilize its retiree pension and healthcare costs. Not having these reforms in place yet is estimated to cost the CTA more than $11 million each month.

Huberman also announced the CTA’s proposed five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The proposed CIP totals $2.4 billion, with $2.2 billion in projects to remediate slow zones, renew CTA assets, overhaul and replace the fleet, and $0.2 billion programmed for vital system expansion, including completion of the Brown Line capacity expansion project. Unlike prior years, the proposed program does not divert scarce capital funds to balance the operating budget as CTA has no unobligated capital funding remaining.

Funding identified in this CIP will only partially meet the CTA’s needs to bring its system to a state of good repair. Of the $8.7 billion needed to reach a state of good repair, an estimated $6.3 billion remains unfunded during the five year period of this CIP and further investment will be necessary for proposed expansion projects.

CTA customers and the general public will have the opportunity to provide comments to the Chicago Transit Board on the President’s 2008 Budget Recommendations at a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. November 5th at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago.

The Chicago Transit Board will consider the proposed budget at a November meeting. It will also be presented to the Cook County Board in November, as required by the RTA Act. The Chicago Transit Board must submit a budget to the RTA by November 15th and the RTA must approve budgets for the service boards by year end.

Written and oral comments will be taken into consideration prior to Chicago Transit Board action. This input will be welcomed at the hearing or by correspondence addressed to Gregory P. Longhini, Assistant Secretary of the Board, Chicago Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, Illinois 60680-7567. E-mail comments may be submitted through by writing to ctaboard@transitchicago.com. The deadline to submit comments is Tuesday, November 6, 2007.

The proposed budget is available for public review at the CTA's General Office, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661, second floor, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Regular and large print copies are available at this location. Copies will also be available at the main office of the Regional Transportation Authority, reception desk, Suite 1550, 175 W. Jackson, Chicago, Illinois 60604. A copy of the proposed budget is also posted on the CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com. Following is a list of libraries and additional locations where the document will be available.

Attrill Oct 12, 2007 9:20 PM

This was just sent to CTA cardholders:


"Letter from CTA President Ron Huberman

Dear CTA Customer:

Today, I unveiled the CTA's proposed 2008 budget that lays out a series of painful service cuts, fare increases and lay-offs that will happen on January 6, 2008. These actions are required to meet our legal obligation to submit a balanced budget and are in addition to those service cuts and fare increases that will take effect on November 4th.

All of us at the CTA understand that these service cuts and fare increases will cause you a tremendous hardship. We know that you will face fewer travel options, less frequent service and more crowded buses and trains. To make matters worse, the drastic measures described in the 2008 budget are in addition to the service cuts, fare increases and lay-offs that will take place on November 4th if the Illinois Legislature does not enact fundamental funding reforms.

It is important for our customers to know that all of us at the CTA do not want to see this budget become reality. We remain hopeful that the Illinois General Assembly will pass a long-term funding solution.

Please know that we sought to minimize the impact of our budget deficit wherever we could. For example, we reduced our costs by over $38 million this year alone - without impacting service. The CTA and its unions have also agreed to an unprecedented five-year contract, contingent on legislative action, which would enable the CTA to reduce costs and manage itself more like a business. The Illinois Legislature, however, has yet to pass the bill that would give the CTA authority to put these reforms in place. This inaction is costing the CTA more than $11 million each month.

So, while the CTA continues to look for every opportunity to cut costs, there is simply no way we can manage our way out of a $158 million deficit in 2008.

The CTA continues to fight for sufficient transit funding and we need your help. Please contact the Governor and your state legislators and tell them how important mass transit funding is to you. In addition to calling or writing your legislators, you can go to www.transitchicago.com where a link will allow you to easily send a message.

With your support, we are hopeful that we will finally get a long-term solution to the CTA's funding shortfalls and put future "doomsdays" to rest. If the State enacts pending legislation before November 4th, these service cuts and fare increases will not go into effect.

Sincerely yours,

Ron Huberman
President
"

nomarandlee Oct 13, 2007 2:58 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...i_tab01_layout
Quote:

CTA bus crisis gets bleaker
Half of all routes on chopping block


By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune transportation reporter
October 13, 2007

With its budget deficit growing, the CTA moved Friday to eliminate more than half of its bus routes by early January, threatening to strand tens of thousands of daily commuters and worsen gridlock across the Chicago area.

The new plan, while living up to its label as a "doomsday" budget, would also sharply boost fares and employee layoffs beyond those already set to take effect next month -- if the legislature does not approve new funding soon to fill a projected $158 million deficit for 2008.

But transit supporters said the severity of the cuts may finally be the impetus for the state's legislative leaders and governor to end months of bickering over the transit crisis..............

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,4058629.story


Quote:

20% Metra fare hikes possible, officials say
By Richard Wronski | Tribune staff reporter

October 13, 2007

Metra riders could face a 20 percent fare increase -- double what had been predicted -- and service cuts on its lines this February if the legislature does not resolve the area's transit funding crisis, officials said Friday.

That bleak picture could unfold if Metra is forced to adopt a 2008 budget next month without additional state funding for operating needs, officials said.............

Attrill Oct 13, 2007 7:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 3105846)

In regards to Daley not prioritizing transit funding, I don't think that's true. It's just that there isn't much the city can do about it. The city isn't the only one that uses the CTA or Pace services and it couldn't afford to bankroll it all itself. And even if it wanted to try funding the CTA, Chicago is in the midst of trying to plug a big financial hole.

The City of Chicago should not be taking on the funding of the CTA - the CTA gets the majority of it's funding from the RTA, which also covers Metra and Pace. This makes sense, since the CTA needs to integrate with the other transit systems. Also, the CTA serves more than just Chicago (Oak Park, Evanston, Skokie, Berwyn, Cicero, Forest Park, Evergreen Park, Rosemont, and Wilmette).

The RTA gets it's funding from a sales tax in Cook county and the money is then distributed to the three agencies (CTA, Metra, Pace). When the original formula was created Chicago had a huge retail base, while the burbs did not. So some of the tax paid in Chicago is kicked out to pay for surban transit. With the rise of shopping malls the retail situation changed, but the money is still distributed based on the assumption that downtown Chicago is the center of the region's retail sales. The end result is that Chicago is subsidizing transit in suburban Cook county and the collar counties

From the RTA's 2006 budget:
http://www.hydepark.org/transit/pics/regfdg2.JPG

The RTA funding formula needs to be fixed before the City of Chicago looks to give any money to the CTA. We're already paying a tax in Chicago to pay for the CTA, but it's being used to subsidize transit in outlying areas that are paying a quarter of the taxes Cook county residents do (if they are paying any at all, some collar counties pay nothing but still benefit from Metra service)

ardecila Oct 14, 2007 5:07 AM

I don't think that's a fair assessment.

Think about it: Chicago metro has roughly 10 million people. 2.5 million of them live in the city, 7.5 in the suburbs. The urbanites pay a 1% sales tax, and the suburbanites pay a 0.25% sales tax. But since the suburbanites are 3 times larger, the ratio of suburban to urban funding for the RTA is really 0.75:1, or 3:4. Of course, this assumes that the sales tax generated from an average suburbanite's purchasing is equal to that generated by an average urbanite. When you factor in the large number of low income people in the city, the urban side of the equation falls a little bit, because urbanites on the average spend less.

I think a more balanced assessment is that the contributions from suburban areas and from the city are roughly equal. Because of the population difference, however, suburbanites pay less per person to support transit.

What I would do to end all bickering is have RTA ignore county lines completely. Any Chicagoland municipality receiving CTA service is taxed at a higher rate; any municipality receiving Pace or Metra is taxed at a lower rate. Communities receiving both are taxed at the CTA rate.

Because suburban transit trips often involve some level of driving anyway, it's safe to assume that suburbs even without a Metra station or a Pace line inside their boundaries receive the benefits of those lines, so those suburbs ought to be taxed as well.

The taxing rates will be determined by whatever is needed to balance the budget. Apportionment, however, will be based on population. Of the taxes raised at the CTA rate, 75% will go to CTA and 25% to the suburban agencies. Of the taxes raised at the Metra/Pace rate, 75% will go to those agencies and 25% will go to CTA. Given those guidelines, appropriate taxing rates can be determined.

LaSalle.St.Station Oct 14, 2007 5:59 AM

all this is on Madigan's door step since he passed the bill that all fed units have to bring pension funding in line with cost... hence major shortfalls at all public agencies...... solution....... privatize......contract out all bus routes


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