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spyguy Mar 21, 2007 3:46 AM

http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/n...03-20&id=24297

Group calling for $25 billion for transportation

A number of suburban government officials have joined a coalition of Illinois business and labor groups in calling for the state to invest $25 billion in transportation over the next five years.

The group, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, is seeking money for state highways, local roads, rail freight and public transit.

“This is a regional crisis that must be addressed,” said Bob Schillerstrom, chairman of the DuPage County Board.

While officials from Lake County, Palos Hills, Batavia and elsewhere lined up at a downtown Chicago news conference Tuesday to press their cases for more transit funds, which they said would foster economic and job growth, none would recommend where that money should come from.

The officials seem content to leave that decision in the hands of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the General Assembly.

“This is the year of the decision,” said Jim Reilly, chairman of the Regional Transit Authority. “The ball is in Springfield’s court.”

Mr. Reilly acknowledged that there was “no consensus” among members of the coalition about sources of funding for the $25-billion proposal.

The RTA is a member of the coalition, which is led by the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois AFL-CIO.

Mr. Schillerstrom said the group is “open to discussion” about sources of revenue, but, “Ultimately, that’s a decision by the governor and Legislature.”

When asked why the group is not making any suggestions to help guide Gov. Blagojevich and the General Assembly, Mr. Schillerstrom said, “I don’t think we want to lose sight of the goal by offering a variety of revenue sources.”

Joe DiJohn, research professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Transportation Center, said the transportation system in Illinois is in a state of “near-crisis.”

“There’s no question that there would be a steep degradation of service without funding,” he said.

Mr. DiJohn suggested increasing fuel taxes to fund transportation.

“It’s generally been understood, in the academic community and among economists, at least,” that if the gasoline tax is increased the additional funds would cover much of the costs to upgrade roads and public transit, he said.

A spokesman for Gov. Blagojevich’s Office of Management and Budget said the governor’s 2008 budget contains $1.8 billion in capital funding for new transportation projects and $2.4 billion to fund pre-existing projects.

Illinois First, the state’s last major transportation infrastructure program, was financed with bonds. An increase in state vehicle license fees and higher liquor taxes were approved to help pay off the bonds.

But don’t expect anyone to press for tax increases to fund transportation projects any time soon, said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.

“There’s often a backlash when the public learns about proposed taxes before being convinced of the benefits,” he said.

pip Mar 21, 2007 3:52 AM

^
Quote:

Group calling for $25 billion for transportation

A number of suburban government officials have joined a coalition of Illinois business and labor groups in calling for the state to invest $25 billion in transportation over the next five years.

The group, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, is seeking money for state highways, local roads, rail freight and public transit.
To me that is the important point. If the suburbs, city, business and labor groups are for this then it will happen.

VivaLFuego Mar 21, 2007 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 2705589)
^ No more transit lines in the middle of highways! Put the transit in the neighborhoods.

I think the maintenance mess will obviously be resolved some time in the future. It would be a mistake to turn down an opportunity to expand the system, even in these annoying circumstances. The operations funding could even be fixed by the time the new line is operational.

1. The preferred conceptual routing is to follow the UP right of way that is a bit east of Halsted (with the stations likely dug in a trench to avoid grade crossings). This would avoid duplicating Metra service and would serve the commercial district at 115th/Michigan, and further wouldn't be in an expressway median.

2. The maintenance costs are part of the alternatives analysis; if the cost/benefit projections don't work, the project will be dead on arrival. Since the planning process takes so long, it would be stupid NOT to start it. I mean, it's not like we'll have an incompetent governor whos eager to deal with expensive federal issues at the state level while ignoring basic local government needs forever...

Chicago Shawn Mar 21, 2007 2:49 PM

Tie replacement work started in the Blue Line subway last night. The outbound tracks are getting worked on first, which I don't understand since the inbound tracks are in far worse shape. But in any case, I am estatic that work is being done to fix this obsurdly long slow zone.

Taft Mar 21, 2007 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2705077)
Yes, but system expansion increases operating costs, which there is a HUGE shortage of already.


As I understand it, if the CTA were to stop bidding for federal money for non-operational projects, they run the risk of losing out on future capital monies. It is something of a catch 22.

And for the record, I think that freezing capital expansion is a horrible idea. It is obvious to just about everyone that the system is horribly underfunded. The discrepancy between capital and operational funding has only highlighted this in recent years. Hopefully this will act as a catalyst to better funding in the future. To an extent, it is a matter of forcing the hand of those with the purse strings. Transportation needs operational funding, but it also needs expansion. The sooner the powers that be can be convinced of this, the better.

Taft

Marcu Mar 21, 2007 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2706760)
Tie replacement work started in the Blue Line subway last night. The outbound tracks are getting worked on first, which I don't understand since the inbound tracks are in far worse shape. But in any case, I am estatic that work is being done to fix this obsurdly long slow zone.

That's great news. How does this tie in to the article posted a few days back saying CTA will need 100mil and at least 3 years or something like that? Was that for something else?

VivaLFuego Mar 21, 2007 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2707140)
That's great news. How does this tie in to the article posted a few days back saying CTA will need 100mil and at least 3 years or something like that? Was that for something else?

I was wondering that too, the wording in that article was a bit vague. My previous understanding was that the contract for replacing the ties in the blue subway had already been awarded (i.e. the capital funds were already found and obligated), and that replacing all the ties from Jeff Park to O'hare was a $50-60 million project.

That 50-60 figure may be for construction only; perhaps if you take design + construction for tie renewal on the entire O'hare branch it would come out to about $100 million.

j korzeniowski Mar 21, 2007 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj (Post 2707218)
Transit pitch can't sway governor
Officials seek more funds for region


But Blagojevich said he has more pressing concerns.

"As far as I'm concerned, the big priorities are passing our tax-fairness plan and getting everyone access to affordable health care, and fairly and properly fund our schools to give our kids a chance to learn," Blagojevich said during an appearance on the South Side.

jesus, rod, what the hell? i am all for universal health care, but in order to pull off these business taxes, you have to have businesses there in the first place. ensuring that these businesses can have employees there on time and working would, i imagine, keep area businesses happy.

maybe i am being simplistic, but blagojevich's thinking seems cart-before-the-horse on this. hopefully someone can shake some sense into him. (a guy from albany park who probably used the brown line more than once or twice.)

sentinel Mar 21, 2007 6:35 PM

One word: RECALL!!!!!
They did it in California and the Terminator has been relatively successful, and I'm sure we can find a better leader for the state than that steaming pile of s**t (and I'm a Democrat!!!)

spyguy Mar 21, 2007 8:31 PM

^Not to worry. I'm sure he'll be in jail in a matter of time.

Attrill Mar 21, 2007 8:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2707190)
I was wondering that too, the wording in that article was a bit vague. My previous understanding was that the contract for replacing the ties in the blue subway had already been awarded (i.e. the capital funds were already found and obligated), and that replacing all the ties from Jeff Park to O'hare was a $50-60 million project.

That 50-60 figure may be for construction only; perhaps if you take design + construction for tie renewal on the entire O'hare branch it would come out to about $100 million.

I haven't seen any $ break outs of the Blue line work but I think the tie replacement around Jefferson Park is much more extensive and time consuming work. The subway work is more like heavy maintenance.

ardecila Mar 21, 2007 10:30 PM

Fortunately, Blagojevich can't levy taxes, only the General Assembly can. In order for him to pass such a HUGE tax increase, he will undoubtedly have to compromise on some things and right now it seems as if transportation is the biggest concern.

Optimistically, CTA will end up with enough money to maintain current operations and proceed with system upkeep at the same pace as they have done it for the last few years. There is virtually no chance of them getting enough money to enter a "state of good repair".

Pessimistically, they will end up with enough money to operate while making weekend/non rush hour service cuts, etc.

alex1 Mar 22, 2007 1:12 AM

I'm all for the tax increases to provide universal healthcare in Illinois. However, Rod needs to figure out one thing, transit is very important too. You can't play chicken with a system that's about to succumb to neglect.

Rod could have been a great leader if he learned to lead. He's much like Kruesi in that regard.

at this point in the game it should be 1. education 2. transit 3. universal healthcare.

ArteVandelay Mar 22, 2007 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attrill (Post 2707547)
I haven't seen any $ break outs of the Blue line work but I think the tie replacement around Jefferson Park is much more extensive and time consuming work. The subway work is more like heavy maintenance.

Tie replacement work in the subway is just as expensive and potentially more time consuming. Old wooden ties are being torn out, and new concrete poured in place to form the new ties. Getting concrete in, old ties out, etc, is an access nightmare in the subway. This work has just begun on the Blue Line, actually right through the Chicago Station (you can stand on the platform and look at the first new concrete ties). The CTA has been replacing plates both inbound and outbound in the subway as well, and they are doing this in locations where the ties are not being replaced.

One of the biggest reasons replacing ties on the Ohare Ballast is more expensive is simply because their are many more ties that need replacing. The contract to replace subway ties I believe is for approx 6000 ties, not all the ties in the subway. And this includes ties in the Redline subway as well as well as the Blue line. Subway ties are particularly bad in certain areas, but fine in others. Ties out on the Kennedy are in horrible state for a distance measured in miles, not feet.

Chicago Shawn Mar 22, 2007 2:22 AM

^Thanks for the post and welcome to the forum.

Love the screenname too, Sinefeld is the best sit-com ever.

VivaLFuego Mar 22, 2007 2:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ArteVandelay (Post 2708391)
Tie replacement work in the subway is just as expensive and potentially more time consuming. Old wooden ties are being torn out, and new concrete poured in place to form the new ties. Getting concrete in, old ties out, etc, is an access nightmare in the subway. This work has just begun on the Blue Line, actually right through the Chicago Station (you can stand on the platform and look at the first new concrete ties). The CTA has been replacing plates both inbound and outbound in the subway as well, and they are doing this in locations where the ties are not being replaced.

One of the biggest reasons replacing ties on the Ohare Ballast is more expensive is simply because their are many more ties that need replacing. The contract to replace subway ties I believe is for approx 6000 ties, not all the ties in the subway. And this includes ties in the Redline subway as well as well as the Blue line. Subway ties are particularly bad in certain areas, but fine in others. Ties out on the Kennedy are in horrible state for a distance measured in miles, not feet.

They're pouring in place? I assumed they would use precast. Either way it's logistically pretty tough, since you gotta cut the rail, pop out the old rotting wood ties, demo the old concrete casing, then install the new ones.

VivaLFuego Mar 22, 2007 2:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2708304)
I'm all for the tax increases to provide universal healthcare in Illinois. However, Rod needs to figure out one thing, transit is very important too. You can't play chicken with a system that's about to succumb to neglect.

Rod could have been a great leader if he learned to lead. He's much like Kruesi in that regard.

at this point in the game it should be 1. education 2. transit 3. universal healthcare.

Or maybe there are some issues that should be dealt with at the federal level (healthcare) and some at a more local level (transit), so Blagojevich needs to get back to earth. It's like Alderman Joe Moore legislating what we can and can't eat. Delusions of grandeur....no, delusions of adequacy. What an awful governor.

Attrill Mar 22, 2007 3:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ArteVandelay (Post 2708391)
Tie replacement work in the subway is just as expensive and potentially more time consuming...

One of the biggest reasons replacing ties on the Ohare Ballast is more expensive is simply because their are many more ties that need replacing. The contract to replace subway ties I believe is for approx 6000 ties, not all the ties in the subway. And this includes ties in the Redline subway as well as well as the Blue line. Subway ties are particularly bad in certain areas, but fine in others. Ties out on the Kennedy are in horrible state for a distance measured in miles, not feet.

Thanks for the clarification on that! That's the most detailed explanation I've heard of it so far (although I've only talked to workers on the Chicago platform a couple times). I've seen the new ties in a few locations, and it seems like they're working on it even during the day. Anytime I take the train downtown after 9 AM there are always workers standing along the tunnel walls between Division and Chicago.

alex1 Mar 22, 2007 1:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2708519)
Or maybe there are some issues that should be dealt with at the federal level (healthcare) and some at a more local level (transit), so Blagojevich needs to get back to earth. It's like Alderman Joe Moore legislating what we can and can't eat. Delusions of grandeur....no, delusions of adequacy. What an awful governor.

if healthcare isn't taken care of at the national level, it needs to be implemented at the state level. After all, lack of healthcare is a more pressing societal problem then just about any other. It ruins people on so many levels which makes waiting for Washington to do anything about it criminal in a way. The state should be just as involved in the state of its resident's health as in mass transit.

In the regard of leadership, Blago is weak since he doesn't understand consensus building on many issues. He's also made many bone headed moves (raiding pensions in the past).

I don't think Moore has legislated what you can or can't eat. He's legislated against extreme animal cruelty. I respect that.

Getting back to the topic, Blago needs to stop being an ass and stop using transit funding as leverage to his pet programs. Again, he should be building a coalition that gets Illinois's problems solved. Not using one issue against others. That's where I think he fails as a politico.

Chicago3rd Mar 22, 2007 2:02 PM

Bag of Dog poop just doesn't get it.......he thinks he is doing social justice issues as priority...but fails to forget the 3-4 hour communtes of single parent family heads taking out to the jobs from the city because that is where the jobs are. He is forgetting that poor people don't have cars, but still need to work so that they can pay for shelter and food.

If Rod of Bagovshidt was really into social justice issues he would be able to see the whole picture and not exclude this key element from it.


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