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Chicago Shawn Jan 3, 2009 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4003670)
You are right that they attempt to estimate local spending in that table. However, it does seem like you are misreading the table for the totals you gave above.

From my reading, I see (in millions):

Code:

Total funds available: $143,807

Incoming
Gas tax and tolls: $79,860 (56% of total)
Other taxes: $35,967 (25% of total)
Other income: $27980 (19% of total)

Distribution
Funds available for distribution: $104,104 (72% of total)
Funds used on highways: $79,860 (55% of total)
Funds used for non-highway purposes: $24,245 (17% of total)

So while 35 billion in non-gas and toll revenue is collected, only 24 billion is spent on non-highway spending. Also interesting to note is that about 14 billion of that 24 billion in non-highway spending goes to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund and the Federal General Fund and to collection fees. Only about 10 billion (about 10%) of that money goes to mass transit.

Another interesting bit: while 35 billion is collected from non-gas and toll revenue (I am assuming that is local and state funding), only 20 billion is spent on funding local roads.

To me, it is less than clear cut that spending of gas tax and toll revenues is even close to balanced. The preponderance of the money goes to funding of highways and other road usage. Further, a significant chunk of non-usage local taxes pay for highway and other road usages.

Taft

Yeah, the 55% figure I mentioned earlier actually comes from that table, which compiles many different spending figures such as gas station brownfield cleanups (underground storage tank fund) which do need to be factored in as a total cost of having an auto-centric society. It also should be noted that because VMT (vehicle Miles Traveled) is still falling and because newer car models have better fuel efficiency, people are buying less gas today than in the past few years, and it is eroding the key revenue generator of the Highway Trust Fund. The fund actually went into deficit already in 2008 (4 years ahead of expectations), and congress appropriated $8 Billion in other tax revenues to cover the short fall.

ardecila Jan 4, 2009 6:55 AM

I don't know where the City of New York is coming up with $2.1 billion, but I can assure you that the City of Chicago does not have that kind of money lying around. A transit taxing district does exist in the downtown area that could perhaps be tapped (it's not used right now) but tax increases are never popular, especially in a recessionary period.

NYC is gambling that the 7 Extension will help the West Side development to continue through the recession. I doubt they will succeed, but the new subway will definitely be a positive.

Here in Chicago, the only project that would interest the City would be the West Loop Transportation Center, and perhaps the Carroll Street busway. The line extensions (Red, Orange, Yellow) are not critical and would merely serve to relieve congestion on feeder bus lines. The Circle Line is... mired in complex issues and complex egos. The city is interested in the Mid-City Transitway, but not necessarily as a rail line... it could be a combination bus/truck highway, or perhaps even a full freeway once the studies are done.

Abner Jan 5, 2009 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4005827)
The city is interested in the Mid-City Transitway, but not necessarily as a rail line... it could be a combination bus/truck highway, or perhaps even a full freeway once the studies are done.

Are there actually any studies underway on this?

ardecila Jan 5, 2009 12:56 AM

Honestly? I don't know.

From CDOT's website:
"The city has begun some preliminary studies to assess potential demand/usership and look at some of the demographic data in the Mid-City corridor."

Rilestone75 Jan 5, 2009 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4003104)
Of course they are unacceptable issues. But unless you want to start introducing hygiene laws, smelly people are going to coexist. The reality is that sanitary conditions are a luxury, not a right. You pay more for a chartered flight than you do on a commercial airline. You pay more for a night at the Ritz than you do for a night at the Holiday Inn. There are things we have to tolerate in this world simply because not tolerating them is elitism.

And I'm not sure what you do consider a world class system, but I've frequented New York's Subway and London's Tube, and both manage to have the same problems, with London's being slightly cleaner.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting anything like hygiene laws, etc... but sanitary conditions are in fact our right. It is my right as a tax payer to demand that the public transportation system be sanitary. The real question is to what level we all consider sanitary.

To your point about elitism, why should we tolerate things if we have the means to solve the problem? isn't that just lazy?

Taxing people for driving is the last resort, it should only be done if there is absolutely nothing more you can do to increase effeciency and effectiveness of the public transit system.

Taft Jan 5, 2009 6:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 4007650)
Taxing people for driving is the last resort, it should only be done if there is absolutely nothing more you can do to increase effeciency and effectiveness of the public transit system.

I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with this statement. Whether or not you like the idea, there are a lot of laws in this country which create taxes not just for the purposes of additional revenue, but also to influence behavior. Laws targeting alcohol, tobacco, porn, etc, etc exist in an attempt to make people stop doing things that society considers "undesirable."

In the past, gas taxes and tolls were for the sole purpose of paying for the creation or maintenance of roads. Again, you may not like it, but many people consider driving to work when public transportation is an option a "sin" that should be taxed to discourage it. I'm not sure I share this view, but there is another way to look at it as well: when congestion and wear and tear due to too many people on the road becomes too burdensome for the local economy to bear, taxes to discourage driving when feasible alternatives exist help to raise the entire area's quality of life. In other words: you can argue that taxes to discourage driving work to the greater public good.

One last time: you may disagree with the viewpoints expressed above. That's fine. But you must admit that they are logical and reasonable points of view.

Taft

ChicagoChicago Jan 5, 2009 8:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 4007650)
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting anything like hygiene laws, etc... but sanitary conditions are in fact our right. It is my right as a tax payer to demand that the public transportation system be sanitary. The real question is to what level we all consider sanitary.

To your point about elitism, why should we tolerate things if we have the means to solve the problem? isn't that just lazy?

Taxing people for driving is the last resort, it should only be done if there is absolutely nothing more you can do to increase effeciency and effectiveness of the public transit system.

I suppose you and I have fundamental differences in the way we view things on multiple levels.

For one, I don’t see how it’s possible to legally block a fare paying customer because of the way he/she smells. The urination can easily be policed if they do it on the train, but I’m less sure that it’s illegal to just go in your pants…which many homeless do.

Secondly, I’d say that a “usage tax” is about the fairest tax in existence.

Rilestone75 Jan 6, 2009 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4007699)
I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with this statement. Whether or not you like the idea, there are a lot of laws in this country which create taxes not just for the purposes of additional revenue, but also to influence behavior. Laws targeting alcohol, tobacco, porn, etc, etc exist in an attempt to make people stop doing things that society considers "undesirable."

In the past, gas taxes and tolls were for the sole purpose of paying for the creation or maintenance of roads. Again, you may not like it, but many people consider driving to work when public transportation is an option a "sin" that should be taxed to discourage it. I'm not sure I share this view, but there is another way to look at it as well: when congestion and wear and tear due to too many people on the road becomes too burdensome for the local economy to bear, taxes to discourage driving when feasible alternatives exist help to raise the entire area's quality of life. In other words: you can argue that taxes to discourage driving work to the greater public good.

One last time: you may disagree with the viewpoints expressed above. That's fine. But you must admit that they are logical and reasonable points of view.

Taft

I agree that there are two sides to this issue and that there are valid points, especially ones you have made above. I just have a very hard time allowing the local gov. to increase taxes on drivers when I see so many ineffeciencies and wasteful spending of the tax money we already have. Which is another issue alltogether and not for this thread.;)

emathias Jan 7, 2009 10:16 PM

Snafu loses Chicago $135M grant
 
From Crain's:

Quote:

By: Greg Hinz Jan. 07, 2009

(Crain's) — Amid a business revolt and a sour economy, the Daley administration has missed a key deadline on a huge federal transportation grant, a lapse that could cost the city $135 million in anti-congestion funds.

The administration this week quietly pulled back a pending ordinance that would have hiked fees and taxes for off-street parking in garages and on surface lots downtown by as much as $8 a day. The measure was supposed to be the stick for a big carrot: a $135-million federal grant announced last spring to begin a pilot express transportation system known as bus rapid transit.

But the measure, which arrived in the wake of large hikes in parking-meter fess, drew strong opposition from business groups. And even if the mayor had put down the opposition, the ordinance was not approved by the Dec. 31 deadline mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The city asked for a two-week extension so the ordinance could be approved at the Jan. 13 City Council meeting. But outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters this week phoned Mr. Daley to tell him the request had been rejected - meaning that the city, at least for now, is out $135 million.

Frank Kruesi, the city's chief Washington lobbyist, termed the decision "astonishing, not to give us the courtesy" of another two weeks. Such short-term waivers are granted often, he said.

But that may not have occurred because Ms. Peters and other Bush appointees are in their last days in office. Ms. Peters herself was not immediately available for comment.

Mr. Kruesi offered some hope that the money could be routed back to Chicago by the incoming Obama administration, whose designated transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, is a former Downstate Illinois congressman.

The off-street parking ordinance was stalled, in part, because of delays in privatizing the city's parking meters caused by turbulence in the credit markets, Mr. Kruesi said.

But business leaders and downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) say a much more "collaborative" approach is needed if a future ordinance is to get their support.

The ordinance would have given city administrators wide latitude to raise parking fees without specifying levels or guaranteeing that the proceeds would go into transit-related projects rather than general projects, they say.

"The city would be well-served by pursuing anti-congestion policies that include federal money," Mr. Reilly said. "That having been said, this ordinance raised valid concerns from the business community. We don't want to have a disproportionate impact on the local economy."

Michael Cornicelli, executive vice-president of the Building Owners and Managers Assn., said, "To simply penalize motorists, to burden them with an additional tax without providing viable alternatives isn't helpful," adding that "the Chicago Transit Authority is in dire need of an expansion."

But Mr. Kruesi noted that all fee hikes would have expired at the end of the 18-month pilot program the federal grant would have established.

The CTA was going to use the money to establish the first 10 miles of a planned 100-mile system of bus-rapid-transit routes, which use extra-long buses that stop only every half-mile on dedicated street lanes. The system also would feature rear-door and prepaid boarding and electronic signs to indicate when the next bus arrives.

the urban politician Jan 8, 2009 2:02 AM

^ What the flying fuck?
:shrug:

the urban politician Jan 8, 2009 2:23 AM

I hope Durbin and Daley (and perhaps Burris?) are able to get that money back from LaHood and Obama. Otherwise, that would be really sad and, honestly, pretty Goddamn pathetic

Ch.G, Ch.G Jan 8, 2009 4:40 AM

^ I hope so, too. The crazy thing is they were denied by an administration that favors privatization precisely because they were in the process of privatizing, according to the article.

Quote:

The off-street parking ordinance was stalled, in part, because of delays in privatizing the city's parking meters caused by turbulence in the credit markets, Mr. Kruesi said.

ardecila Jan 8, 2009 7:09 AM

I guess Kruesi isn't totally out of the limelight. Just like every public official in Illinois, they go into the private sector once they step down.

I'm pissed about the loss of the funds, but Daley really bungled this one. He knows the political fallout of these types of unpopular fee raises. If he wanted the transportation funds, he should have passed that ordinance first before the other fee raises, before everyone got outraged. The fault here is purely Daley's for sequencing things incorrectly.

And honestly, is there even a chance that Chicago will lose this funding for real? With Obama in the Oval Office and LaHood down at USDOT, the money is more likely to increase than to be forfeited.

arenn Jan 8, 2009 1:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4007699)
I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with this statement. Whether or not you like the idea, there are a lot of laws in this country which create taxes not just for the purposes of additional revenue, but also to influence behavior. Laws targeting alcohol, tobacco, porn, etc, etc exist in an attempt to make people stop doing things that society considers "undesirable."

I'd suggest the real reason liquor and tobacco are taxed is precisely because the taxes won't control them. That is, they have inelastic demand which means they are easy ways to raise large amounts of money, thought taxes that are highly regressive, incidentally. Also, consumers of those products qua consumers are politically uninfluential.

the urban politician Jan 8, 2009 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4012656)
And honestly, is there even a chance that Chicago will lose this funding for real? With Obama in the Oval Office and LaHood down at USDOT, the money is more likely to increase than to be forfeited.

^ Well, there's always a chance, but you're right--I doubt Daley will lose this money

Rilestone75 Jan 8, 2009 3:48 PM

"Michael Cornicelli, executive vice-president of the Building Owners and Managers Assn., said, "To simply penalize motorists, to burden them with an additional tax without providing viable alternatives isn't helpful," adding that "the Chicago Transit Authority is in dire need of an expansion."

I couldn't agree with this statement more.

Taft Jan 8, 2009 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 4012948)
"Michael Cornicelli, executive vice-president of the Building Owners and Managers Assn., said, "To simply penalize motorists, to burden them with an additional tax without providing viable alternatives isn't helpful," adding that "the Chicago Transit Authority is in dire need of an expansion."

I couldn't agree with this statement more.

So who's going to pay for the expansion? Are Mr. Cornicelli and local businesses going to do it? Ha! Fat chance. Like always, this is going to come down to government funding. And with the state and local governments running deficits right now (and under requirements to balance their budgets), how do you expect them to pay for it except by raising taxes?

I would really love to hear an explanation of where else this money should come from. And I'm not saying that in any way sarcastically. I would really like to know.

Taft

Abner Jan 8, 2009 4:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4012656)
I guess Kruesi isn't totally out of the limelight. Just like every public official in Illinois, they go into the private sector once they step down.

If he's the city's lobbyist, he's not exactly in the private sector.

What, did you think Daley was actually going to get rid of him?

Abner Jan 8, 2009 4:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4012976)
So who's going to pay for the expansion? Are Mr. Cornicelli and local businesses going to do it? Ha! Fat chance. Like always, this is going to come down to government funding. And with the state and local governments running deficits right now (and under requirements to balance their budgets), how do you expect them to pay for it except by raising taxes?

I would really love to hear an explanation of where else this money should come from. And I'm not saying that in any way sarcastically. I would really like to know.

Taft

Oh, I know! We can just borrow it!

Rilestone75 Jan 8, 2009 4:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4012976)
So who's going to pay for the expansion? Are Mr. Cornicelli and local businesses going to do it? Ha! Fat chance. Like always, this is going to come down to government funding. And with the state and local governments running deficits right now (and under requirements to balance their budgets), how do you expect them to pay for it except by raising taxes?

I would really love to hear an explanation of where else this money should come from. And I'm not saying that in any way sarcastically. I would really like to know.

Taft

I'm not sure exactly where the money will come from, but the gov. of NY has a great idea, he's proposing a tax on soda, that's right, Coke, Pepsi, etc...:yes:

Perhaps Mr. Cornicelli has a point, why should the burden be placed on drivers coming into the downtown area only? Perhaps they should spread the burden to all off street parking in Cook County. Since the CTA is not only limited to the loop. just a thought.


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