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VivaLFuego Feb 6, 2007 3:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 2614717)
Agreed. This is already happening to a large extent with the huge shiny new office buildings going up on Wacker and East Loop's lumbering transition to retail/housing. useless anecdotal evidence ahead: I know quite a few people working in the West Loop who transfer from the red line to the brown line at Fullerton to avoid a big walk from the east loop. These folks would be happy. But I'm sure, as with the pink line, somebody will eventually complain and try to gum up the works...

Also, if they can pull off a nice super station at North/Clyborn with convenient transfers between the circle and red lines, none of this may be a problem at all. The key is to a) run enough trains, b) make it easy to get between trains and c) make the transfer indoors. If all of that happens, I'm not sure there will be much complaining. Add a convenient brown line transfer into the mix and most Nort'-siders would be in transit heaven.

Taft

Yeah, a cross-platform transfer at North/Clybourn (northside) and Cermak/Chinatown (southside) would probably assuage any problems. Agreed that employment is shifting westward, but that would make LaSalle or Franklin the ideal location, not Clinton, which is a bit of a hike.

But....well, to build the Circle Line + the Clinton subway, I'd be -shocked- if we're talking less than $2 billion....and no one has a clue where any of that would come from.

Taft Feb 6, 2007 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2614830)
But....well, to build the Circle Line + the Clinton subway, I'd be -shocked- if we're talking less than $2 billion....and no one has a clue where any of that would come from.

The Olympics, of course! As far as I'm concerned we can start spending that money now. Its as good as ours.

;)

Taft

Busy Bee Feb 6, 2007 4:49 PM

Quote:

Some of the cities along that route (eg Kankakee) have still not fully recovered from the manuf downturn and can use all the help they can get.
3-K is a shithole. I have friends that lived and live there. They describe it as a sort of quality of life vacuum. I tend to agree with them.

Sorry, off topic.

Tom In Chicago Feb 6, 2007 5:34 PM

Somewhat related. . .

Metra-Milwaukee link seen
Wisconsin line may tie into suburban rail

By Dan Gibbard, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance reporter Andrew Schroedter contributed to this report

February 6, 2007

A Wisconsin agency pushing a $200 million Kenosha-to-Milwaukee commuter rail line that would link with Metra has come up with a funding plan and hopes trains could be running as soon as 2010, officials said Monday.

The 33-mile, nine-stop line would use existing tracks and share a station with Metra in Kenosha, said Carl Mueller, a spokesman for the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority. The commission hopes to sell up to $50 million in bonds and pay them off by raising the $2 car rental fee in the affected counties to $15, Mueller said.

"The growing consensus is that it will both provide economic stimulus to the cities along the route ... [and provide them] with a reliable direct link to Chicago and its northern suburbs," Mueller said. "We're becoming one big metro area."

Officials with the group estimate annual ridership at 1.4 million and hope the line could begin service between 2010 and 2012. With 14 round trips on weekdays and seven on weekends, riding would be more convenient and cheaper than Amtrak, Mueller said.

The Wisconsin legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle would have to approve raising the car rental fee. That decision will be made in May, Mueller said, and Southeast Wisconsin RTA plans to submit plans for federal funding this summer.

The project would use existing stations in Kenosha and Milwaukee and build seven new ones, with one linking to Milwaukee's Gen. Mitchell International Airport. The KRM, as officials call it (for Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee), would operate its own trains.

The lion's share of the cost would come from federal funding: $100 million in Federal Transit Administration "New Starts" money and up to $27 million from a congestion mitigation program, Mueller said.

"We're increasingly but still cautiously optimistic," Mueller said. "The vast majority wants it, but everyone wants someone else to pay for it."

Metra officials said they are aware of the proposal but are not involved in it.

"We have enough projects in our own service area," spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

On the other hand, she said, "If they do it and it brings us additional riders, we'd certainly appreciate it. We'd always take more riders."

In other north suburban transportation news:

Skokie officials are finishing plans to revamp Old Orchard Road and hope to fix the maddening interchange with the Edens Expressway.

For now, northbound Edens drivers who want to go east toward Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard confront a traffic signal at the top of the ramp. That's no problem on a green light, but on a red, things get confusing.

There is no stop line, and the right-turn lane adds a third lane to Old Orchard Road. Technically, then, drivers aren't turning into traffic, so some are tempted to stop briefly and drive on.

But many drivers heading east on Old Orchard make a right turn on Lawler Avenue, just 100 yards or so from the junction, and others want to merge into the right lane to turn into the mall, maybe 100 feet east of Lawler. So pulling straight onto Old Orchard from the Edens ramp can bring a horn blast, a slam on the brakes or both.

It doesn't help that high guardrails make it almost impossible for drivers on the ramp to see whether anyone is coming from the west.

The village hopes to have plans to rectify the problem by mid-March, engineer Fred Schattner said.

"We've never had a serious accident there, thank God, but it seems like a place that's just waiting for one," Mayor George Van Dusen said.

Glencoe has become at least the second North Shore village to offer a break on vehicle stickers to hybrid vehicles.

The Village Board raised the vehicle license fee last week from $30 to $50 per year for cars, vans and sport-utility vehicles that hold up to nine passengers. However, hybrid owners will pay only $25 for the mandatory license if they buy it before April 15, Village Manager Paul Harlow said. Village officials said they don't know how many hybrid cars are in Glencoe.

Glencoe expects to raise an extra $100,000 per year through the fee increase, with the money earmarked for road maintenance.

hoju Feb 7, 2007 12:27 AM

Man, that blows that such a large percentage is allocated to roads and bridges. Out of the 2.4 billion earmarked for mass transit, only a portion will end up going to the CTA, which so badly needs the money. I hope a few of the upper echelon central area businesses will take the cues from Crains and band together and lobby for a much bigger chunk for the CTA. Clearly functional mass transit is in their interests.

the urban politician Feb 7, 2007 3:55 AM

^ Well, the article doesn't really say what proportion of the $2.4 billion would go towards the CTA, so I probably wouldn't draw any conclusions.

But yeah, the business community really needs to speak up. But then, perhaps Crains is their voice. I'm glad Crains isn't letting up on this issue--and they sure as hell shouldn't back down.

VivaLFuego Feb 7, 2007 4:00 AM

^ Yeah, I'm just pleased that more and more people, especially influential people, are making noise about the problem. The state government, and our representatives in DC have REALLY dropped the ball on supporting our transportation infrastructure lately, the latter group of which is all the more pathetic seeing at the Speaker of the House was from Illinois, and the #3 Democrat in the US senate is as well.

The state of course has the usual Chicago vs. Suburbs vs. downstate gridlock going on, and Blagojevich hasn't done much to please anybody with any spending programs. Everyone in this state always seems so obsessed with throwing more money at education.

the urban politician Feb 7, 2007 5:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2616465)
Everyone in this state always seems so obsessed with throwing more money at education.

^ I couldn't agree more. The Chicago area isn't by any means lacking in good public education. It's the usual scenario--shitty schools in the city (except for charter schools), and good ones in the suburbs. So what's new? Every other major city in America has the same situation going on.

How about updating our transportation system so that the people educated at our schools can GET TO THEIR FUTURE JOBS

spyguy Feb 7, 2007 6:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2616630)
So what's new? Every other major city in America has the same situation going on.

I suppose, but we are talking about Illinois as a whole here, and yes, the education problem is real. Illinois ranks LAST (or 48-49 depending on the year) when it comes to the state's share of school funding and well below the national average. That is absolutely terrible.

Taft Feb 7, 2007 3:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 2616681)
I suppose, but we are talking about Illinois as a whole here, and yes, the education problem is real. Illinois ranks LAST (or 48-49 depending on the year) when it comes to the state's share of school funding and well below the national average. That is absolutely terrible.

So the million dollar question is: where the hell *is* the money going?

It isn't going to schools (if spyguy's numbers are right). It isn't going to public transportation or even roads (if Lukecuj's article is right). Where is the money going?

Or do we have an exceptionally low tax rate? (I have a hard time believing that...)

Taft

brian_b Feb 7, 2007 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 2617118)
So the million dollar question is: where the hell *is* the money going?

It isn't going to schools (if spyguy's numbers are right). It isn't going to public transportation or even roads (if Lukecuj's article is right). Where is the money going?

Or do we have an exceptionally low tax rate? (I have a hard time believing that...)

Taft

Well actually Illinois ranks in the bottom half for (state + local) taxes per capita. When considering the actual state income tax rate, Illinois is also very low on the list - our flat 3% of federal adjusted gross compares very favorably with any other state that levies an income tax.

The school issue is that local taxes pay for almost all schooling in the state, which means that schools in rich areas get tons of money while schools in poor areas get almost no money. All the wrangling down in Springfield is to find a way to make school funding a bit more equal without increasing our tax burdens and without upsetting the silver spoon crowd.

To make this post on-topic, I don't believe that transit is going to get a whole lot of attention in Springfield until this gets resolved.

VivaLFuego Feb 7, 2007 4:10 PM

Yeah, our income taxes are low, and property tax isn't bad either, which is why our sales tax is so high; to pay for stuff (including transit).

I've heard that over the coming weeks (or at least very soon), the head honchos at CTA, Metra, and Pace, and more importantly, RTA, will start unveiling detailed proposals for fixing the transit funding situation. the problem of course, is as discussed, none of the politicos other than Hamos seem to care that much.

One also has to ask where all the tax money we pay to the city goes; obviously the top priorities need to be things like police/fire/schools, and I know all of those combined probably get about 75% of property tax. But what about the rest of the property tax, and of course our ridiculously high sales tax? Why can't more of that go towards supporting vital infrastructure?

Marcu Feb 7, 2007 8:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2617226)
But what about the rest of the property tax, and of course our ridiculously high sales tax? Why can't more of that go towards supporting vital infrastructure?


I'm not even sure the high sales tax rate makes the city money. I personally don't make any large ticket purchase in the city and most people I know that live in the city don't either. The tax really ends up hurting people without a car disproportionetly since they can't drive out to oakbrook or old orchard. The situation might be similar to the cook county cigarette tax hike which actually ended up costing the city money. I'd really like to see some numbers on this.

VivaLFuego Feb 7, 2007 8:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2617665)
I'm not even sure the high sales tax rate makes the city money. I personally don't make any large ticket purchase in the city and most people I know that live in the city don't either. The tax really ends up hurting people without a car disproportionetly since they can't drive out to oakbrook or old orchard. The situation might be similar to the cook county cigarette tax hike which actually ended up costing the city money. I'd really like to see some numbers on this.


This is a serious problem for CTA's funding as well, since the bulk of CTA funding is in-city sales tax which is plummeting (in real terms) as people go to the suburbs for big purchases, and of course with the rise of online shopping. This goes back to a topic earlier on this thread, when I said CTA's funding source isn't keeping up with inflation...

MayorOfChicago Feb 8, 2007 5:23 AM

New $10M Metra station set for South Loop

By Richard Wronski
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 7, 2007, 8:26 PM CST


Work will begin this spring on a new South Loop Metra station that will replace a rickety, rusty eyesore with a new beaux-arts structure that will complement its Grant Park surroundings and the Museum Campus, officials said Wednesday.

The entrance to the $10 million station will be from the 11th Street pedestrian bridge. The project, being done by the City of Chicago and Metra, involves constructing new platforms and two elevators, making the station accessible for the disabled, officials said.



E-mail this story

Gone will be the shabby wooden Roosevelt Road station and pedestrian walkway serving the Metra Electric and South Shore Lines. The structures are believed to be about 100 years old.

Grant Park advocates hailed word that the Chicago Department of Transportation had signed a contract for the new station.

"We've been getting complaints about the pedestrian bridge and station for over 15 years," said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council.

"This is Chicago's front yard. [The old station] looks like something out of an old Wild West movie. When you walk on it, it's even in worse shape. People have said to me that it is really an embarrassment."

The new station is designed to blend with the nearby public architecture of Grant Park and Museum Campus, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

Construction is expected to take about 18 months and will not affect vehicle traffic or Metra users because most work will be done during non-rush-hour periods, Steele said.

The Grant Park Advisory Council and others have pushed for several years to replace the old station, but progress was delayed by lack of funding. Finally, in November, the Illinois Department of Transportation came through with a long-promised $2.8 million grant.

The money will be used to relocate Metra tracks to facilitate construction, said Judy Pardonnet, a Metra spokeswoman.

Current ridership figures are unavailable, but the Metra station is well-used by commuters, South Loop residents, Museum Campus visitors and tourists, and Bears fans at Soldier Field, Pardonnet said.

Recent additions to the area include a dog park, skate plaza, and the Agora sculptures.

"There's a lot going on in that area now," O'Neill said. "There needs to be a world-class station for a world-class park. It's elegant. It's one more piece to finish the south end of Grant Park."

VivaLFuego Feb 8, 2007 5:27 AM

^ a beaux-arts station, sounds interesting. i'm curious to see a rendering. Is the 11th st ped bridge decently located? i.e. will it be convenient?

spyguy Feb 8, 2007 5:45 AM

There was an image in the Chicago Journal a couple months ago
http://img455.imageshack.us/img455/8539/2276ata4.jpg

nomarandlee Feb 8, 2007 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2609870)
Probably, but not necessarily; the subway under Lake actually was built with a flying junction (nice bit of foresight, this is actually there because they eventually wanted to demolish the Lake st. L and replace it with a subway) as it turns towards the NW under Milwaukee (the 2 diverging routes just dead end after about 50 ft) but this would place a track connection to the Clinton subway within the realm of comprehension, if the money and operational need for it were present. Then there's the issue of how you would hook it up at the south end; head west through the portal that already exists in the Ike median, or build a new flying junction underground to loop back into the Blue line subway? The latter option would be massively expensive.

The "ideal" solution would have a perpendicular Monroe st. transitway to eliminate the need for that 2nd loop.

Needless to stay, there's alot of options and possibilities that will utlimately be most contingent on funding.


Sorry to rehash but I gots to know. I think I have read the answer somewhere before but it escapes me. The one thing I am not certain on is how many stations would there be on the Clinton subway (between the green and blue lines)? Would there be just one for the WLTC (which then would connect with the stations by a moving walkway/pedway)? Or would there be two statoins going direct to the Union and Oglivie? Would the new LTR/BRT have similar stops as well? Or would there be three incredibly short stops at all three?

Also if the blue line loop isn't in the cards wouldn't it make sense (maybe it is in the plans) for the Clinton subway to hook up with new transfer stations at the Clinton/Green-Pink and the Clinton/Blue stops in order to provide loop access? Or is the thinking is that is not direct enough?

nomarandlee Feb 8, 2007 3:17 PM

Transit agencies go after billions
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...-newslocal-hed

Transit agencies go after billions
Higher taxes, fees among ideas to fund infrastructure rehab


By Richard Wronski
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 8, 2007


After warning for months that northeastern Illinois is in dire need of improvements to its commuter rail, bus and subway network, top transportation officials on Thursday will propose ways to come up with billions of dollars they say are needed to keep the system running.

Capping a yearlong campaign to build public support, the Regional Transportation Authority will outline investments and reforms needed to provide consistent service, put aging equipment such as the CTA elevated system in sound working order, replace outdated Metra trains and Pace buses and add new commuter lines for growing suburbs.

Although the RTA will not endorse any specific proposals, it will recommend ways the money can be raised through increases in taxes and fees, sources familiar with the campaign said.

Among the revenue-producing recommendations are passing a one-quarter percent sales tax increase, either imposed in the collar counties alone or across the entire six-county RTA region; adding a new tax on parking in paid lots and garages; and collecting taxes on Internet sales.

The next step will be to persuade the Illinois legislature and Gov. Rod Blagojevich to come up with a funding plan for transportation infrastructure and daily operations.

"The simple fact is, the transportation people have to make their case for the money, and the decision makers need to decide if its worth the financial support. That's always the tough part," said Jack Schaffer, a former Republican state senator from McHenry County and a current Metra board member.

Lobbying for transportation funding this spring will be difficult, since Blagojevich and legislative leaders already face mounting pressure to increase state spending for education, pensions and health care.

Nevertheless, what's at stake is "a transit system worthy of our reputation as one of the great metropolitan regions of the world," RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman said in an e-mail to a grass-roots network of residents, groups and businesses who have joined the RTA's campaign, called Moving Beyond Congestion.

Schlickman, RTA Chairman Jim Reilly and the leaders of the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra commuter rail system and Pace suburban bus system will outline the funding proposals Thursday.

The RTA estimates that $57 billion is needed to preserve, enhance and expand transit projects in the region over the next 30 years. Maintaining current service over the period will cost $34 billion, the agency said.

All three agencies are counting on significant amounts of extra money from Springfield in their 2007 budgets. Together, the agencies will face a $209 million shortfall next year.

Officials agree that raising funds by changing the sales tax allocations in the region's public transportation funding formula will be difficult.

Under the present formula, Chicago and suburban Cook County contribute the equivalent of 1 percent of their sales tax revenue to mass transit, and the collar counties contribute one-quarter percent.

In the past, calls for an increase in the collar counties' sales tax contribution have met stiff opposition. Critics believe many outlying suburban communities do not receive the same level of public transportation as Cook County and Chicago.

A 2005 legislative committee's report on the funding formula found that Cook County suburbs are subsidizing service in Chicago and the collar counties. Some scoffed at this, insisting that the collar counties and suburban Cook are subsidizing service in Chicago.

"Obviously, this is a tremendous political challenge," said Peter Skosey, a transportation expert with the Metropolitan Planning Council. "You have suburban versus city transportation interests."

The transit agencies are striving to present a unified approach to the funding problem, said RTA board member Arlene Mulder, mayor of Arlington Heights.

None of the recommendations will be popular, Mulder said, but the agencies can no longer afford not to invest in transportation infrastructure.

"You can put off fixing the leaking roof only until you have gaping holes," Mulder said. "Then the cost of fixing it triples."

----------

rwronski@tribune.com

DaleAvella Feb 8, 2007 4:34 PM

Midwest Passenger Rail Bonding

WisDOT is seeking federal funding to implement an extension of the existing Chicago-Milwaukee Amtrak service to add service to Madison as part of a larger Regional Rail System for a nine state region.

Long range forecasts estimate the entire Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison corridor could attract 1.4 million passengers each year and may generate enough revenue to cover operating costs. Governor Doyle’s proposal would provide a total of $80 million in state funds for the project, providing a clear signal to Congress that Wisconsin will match whatever federal funds are appropriated during the biennium.

http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=10524


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