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  #5581  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2009, 9:14 PM
whyhuhwhy whyhuhwhy is offline
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BTW I thought the funding for CREATE was pretty much in place now with the new capital bill, at least for us to start work on it for the next couple years at least.

But yeah you are right urb, Illinois politicians are basically running the show in Washington so I don't see funding for CREATE being a problem. I'm sure other things would get cut before it.
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  #5582  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2009, 10:27 PM
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That's the problem, I absolutely do, so I'm conflicted. I wish we could spend all the money in the world and get it done yesterday. The problem is we just don't have the money to spend right now. Some can shout up and down and whine that this opinion is "getting in the way" but let's take a slow, deep breath for a second.
Not wanting to get into a partisan debate, but federal spending on transportation and infrastructure is a teensie weensie drop in an enormous bucket compared to spending on entitlements & subsidies (Medicare/Social Security/Medicaid/Welfare/Housing/Food/Farm) which account for about 40% of federal expenditures. Debt service on bonds (i.e. how we pay for our deficits) eats up about 20% of the budget. The military gets a sizable chunk of the remainder. Infrastructure is at most a few percent; Federal transportation spending has been in the $50-60 billion a year range out of annual budgets that were until recently in the $2.5 trillion range but have, over the past few months, gotten quite a bit larger.

There is ample money for infrastructure if there were political will to get it done, but the political will, for reasons that would be totally OT to get into, is focused on entitlement programs.
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  #5583  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Not wanting to get into a partisan debate, but federal spending on transportation and infrastructure is a teensie weensie drop in an enormous bucket compared to spending on entitlements & subsidies (Medicare/Social Security/Medicaid/Welfare/Housing/Food/Farm) which account for about 40% of federal expenditures. Debt service on bonds (i.e. how we pay for our deficits) eats up about 20% of the budget. The military gets a sizable chunk of the remainder. Infrastructure is at most a few percent; Federal transportation spending has been in the $50-60 billion a year range out of annual budgets that were until recently in the $2.5 trillion range but have, over the past few months, gotten quite a bit larger.

There is ample money for infrastructure if there were political will to get it done, but the political will, for reasons that would be totally OT to get into, is focused on entitlement programs.
You're right. I wish we spent a lot more on infrastructure and a lot less on social engineering.
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  #5584  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2009, 11:27 PM
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Yeah thank God our deficit has only quintupled in one year and will probably be only $2.5 trillion by this time next year... that's not concerning. LOL. I feel lucky that I don't have any children to pass this burden on though.
See the Iraq war for a real deficit.

What happened to the budget surplus W inherited? How do you like their tax cut now?
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  #5585  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2009, 11:48 PM
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See the Iraq war for a real deficit.

What happened to the budget surplus W inherited? How do you like their tax cut now?
Bush was an idiot but listen, we aren't even fighting a major war right now and the budget deficit for THE MONTH OF JULY grew by $187 billion, which is literally almost half of the prior TOTAL CUMULATIVE spending deficit for all of the Bush years! In. Just. One. Month.

But on topic, Viva is right, most of this is social spending and not infrastructure, so there is no reason to obstruct projects like CREATE.

Last edited by whyhuhwhy; Aug 14, 2009 at 12:08 AM.
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  #5586  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2009, 2:05 AM
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Last time I checked, we are still fighting insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We most definitely are still fighting a war, although we're no longer fighting an organized Iraqi army.

As for CREATE: ironically, Illinois has now committed funding but the Federal match might be difficult to secure. Cost escalations have also nearly doubled the build-out cost of CREATE (which I don't understand; construction costs should be cheaper with so many people begging for work and low demand for materials...)
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  #5587  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2009, 3:37 AM
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Last time I checked, we are still fighting insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We most definitely are still fighting a war, although we're no longer fighting an organized Iraqi army.
Having troop settlements is a little different than fighting a new war IMO, but you are right, Obama's budget this year actually increased military spending. I wonder if bnk supports the fact that we actually increased our war/military spending this year over Bush by 4%.

Quote:
As for CREATE: ironically, Illinois has now committed funding but the Federal match might be difficult to secure. Cost escalations have also nearly doubled the build-out cost of CREATE (which I don't understand; construction costs should be cheaper with so many people begging for work and low demand for materials...)
Yeah no kidding, I don't understand it either. I think a lot of it has to do with China and India becoming more and more like the United States in their demand for materials though. Those countries are gigantic. It isn't just the U.S. and Europe who have high construction/materials demand anymore.
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  #5588  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2009, 3:30 PM
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any more posts about national politics or foreign wars or any of that stupid off-topic BS will be deleted from this thread.

the topic of this thread is chicago transit developments.
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  #5589  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2009, 2:58 PM
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And speaking of transit developments... On my way in this morning, I noticed that they have started to extend the canopies on the Fullerton CTA stop. I have no idea who decided that the original canopies would suffice, or how much extra it is going to cost now to extend them, but I am damn sure happy that they are doing it. Now I just hope they do the same for Belmont!
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  #5590  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2009, 3:13 PM
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And speaking of transit developments... On my way in this morning, I noticed that they have started to extend the canopies on the Fullerton CTA stop. I have no idea who decided that the original canopies would suffice, or how much extra it is going to cost now to extend them, but I am damn sure happy that they are doing it. Now I just hope they do the same for Belmont!
That's very good news, I always thought this was a terrible way to cut costs on the project.
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  #5591  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2009, 4:15 PM
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I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Vi Daley and Tom Tunney contributing some of their aldermanic "menu" money towards the escalators and canopies at Belmont & Fullerton that were VE'd out but now will be included. I assume they aren't bearing the full cost, but contributing as a gesture for CTA to match.
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  #5592  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2009, 4:45 PM
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Vi Daley and Tom Tunney contributing some of their aldermanic "menu" money towards the escalators and canopies at Belmont & Fullerton that were VE'd out but now will be included. I assume they aren't bearing the full cost, but contributing as a gesture for CTA to match.
Well bravo to them. The extended canopy at Fullerton will extend almost the entire platform, and I'm guessing they'll do the same for Belmont.

After a quick search, here's the article...

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/d...ArticleId=2399

Quote:
CTA to Extend Station Canopies at Belmont and Fullerton

7/15/2009

Canopies that cover the platforms at the Belmont and Fullerton stations will be extended following the Chicago Transit Board’s approval of a change in the original contract with FHP Tectonics Corporation to renovate the stations as part of the Brown Line capacity expansion project.

The canopies will be extended to approximately 320 feet – the equivalent of a six-car train – rather than the original distance of 128 feet or a 2 1/2-car train...
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  #5593  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2009, 7:09 PM
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^That is excellent news.
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  #5594  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2009, 7:08 PM
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Speaking of VE gripes...has anyone been to the new Wellington station since it opened. Overall, I like the modernity. But the stairs...my god the noise. They are made out of metal and are installed in such a way that every step you take you hear the BANG! of one piece of metal slapping against another. I'm not sure if it is an installation issue or just bad design, but it is really annoying.
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  #5595  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2009, 8:36 PM
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Possibly just not finished yet as part of a rush to get the station open by a certain deadline? I remember the at-grade stations (Rockwell, Kedzie, etc) had some serious issues with water drainage when they first opened to riders that were eventually taken care of at the punchlist/closeout stage.
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  #5596  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 1:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Taft View Post
Speaking of VE gripes...has anyone been to the new Wellington station since it opened. Overall, I like the modernity. But the stairs...my god the noise. They are made out of metal and are installed in such a way that every step you take you hear the BANG! of one piece of metal slapping against another. I'm not sure if it is an installation issue or just bad design, but it is really annoying.
I used Wellington last night for the first time since it reopened and noticed the same thing. You get a few people going down or up those stairs and the noise is just incredible
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  #5597  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 2:47 PM
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I started a three part blog series today on improving public transit in Chicago, focused on marshaling support for funding:

http://theurbanophile.blogspot.com/2...reat-part.html
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  #5598  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 3:49 PM
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http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....munities-.html

Beyond Burnham: Area residents weigh in on transit plans for 2040; many favor denser communities
By Kristen Kridel


Schaumburg resident Mike Williams never realized road construction costs would decrease if more people moved into condominium buildings.

...The majority of people want denser communities and greater protection of the environment and investment in transit, he said.

...Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder, who serves on CMAP's Transportation Committee, said she's hopeful the 2040 blueprint will spell out a plan for a new mode of public transportation to connect all the suburbs. Now residents have no choice but to get in their cars, she said. The plan also needs to link all transportation systems.
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  #5599  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 11:07 PM
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An interesting juxtaposition of The Urbanophile's entry with this Tribune article. I highly encourage everyone to read them together.

Chicago needs a transit constituency that's more than a bunch of CTA-dependent poor folks and idealists who know way more than they should about transit issues. I place some of the blame on ridiculous and insane RTA infighting, which has directly or indirectly greatly reduced the usefulness and visibility of the transit system in Chicago.

There's also a severe marketing problem. Metra's website design is juniorized and outdated, and they continue to cling to this small-town, exclusive commuter mentality. Just look at their newsletter - the most recent one contains a complaint about a specific Metra passenger who chews her nails, and then a rebuttal complaint from that passenger.

Meanwhile, Pace seems to occupy no significant place in the lives of all but the poorest suburbanites. I've met many people who weren't even aware that it existed. They, too, need to do a better job of marketing themselves. Maybe if they introduced a few express routes along high-traffic corridors, and then launched an ad blitz?

To this date, I have never seen a TV commercial advertising Metra. Both Metra and Pace run radio ads, but Pace's ads focus exclusively on their Wrigley Field-Schaumburg bus.
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  #5600  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 11:18 PM
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I do not like this downsizing of Create



http://www.joc.com/node/412985

Chicago Trims Freight Rail Plan

John D. Boyd | Aug 19, 2009 8:48PM GMT

The Journal of Commerce Online
Class I Railroads | Short Lines | Washington | States | Rail Shippers | Rail + Intermodal | United States


CN’s use of Chicago-area short line reduces some corridor construction needs
The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program -- a massive construction plan to untangle clogged freight rail, commuter lines and roadway traffic -- is culling its game plan.

Citing the fact that Canadian National Railway now “has an alternate route available” for its through-trains instead of its congested rail corridor into central Chicago, CREATE officials said it will trim construction plans for that central corridor.

“The Federal Highway Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation and Association of American Railroads have agreed to modifications to the CREATE Program in response to changing needs,” the organization said in a note to supporters. It said the full central corridor work it initially planned for “is no longer required.”

The CREATE Program is a thick blueprint for scores of construction projects in and near the city to separate tracks from roads, build new rail control towers, revamp signaling and make numerous other changes that could total nearly $3 billion.

All of North America’s main railroads connect there, and intermingle with commuter and cross-country passenger systems as well as a busy network of railroad freight terminals and private shipper facilities. CREATE was announced in 2003 with hopes of speeding long-distance freight shipments through Chicago that often bog down once they enter the area’s rail system.

In 2005 the federal government chipped in $100 million; that was a fraction of what CREATE backers hoped for and meant construction plans would go more slowly than if it had been strongly supported. Since then, railroads have contributed funds, along with the city of Chicago, and in July the state of Illinois added a $322 million contribution.

Earlier this year, CN absorbed short line Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, which arcs west of the city through numerous suburbs, and CN is slowly starting to shift some of its traffic onto those tracks. But CN’s move triggered sharp protests by some suburbs, where residents fear it will add to their road congestion.

CREATE could get another, perhaps sizable, funding boost this year. It wants to tap federal stimulus funds, and could qualify for help from that measure’s $8 billion in grants yet to be made to support high-speed and other passenger rail operations.

President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are from Chicago, as is Sen. Richard Durbin, who holds the second-highest leadership post among Democrats in the Senate. And Obama installed another Chicagoan, former rail union official Joseph Szabo, as Federal Railroad Administrator.

With a high-speed line being planned down to St. Louis, with Iowa wanting to develop a new regular-speed Amtrak lane to Chicago and additional corridors aiming toward that key city from other directions, untangling its current track system could become a higher national priority.

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.
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