canada africa partner reservation Civic Federation Recommends Consolidation of Transit Agencies in the Chicago – Illinois Area

Civic Federation Recommends Consolidation of Transit Agencies in the Chicago – Illinois Area

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(The Center Square) – The Civic Federation of Chicago is recommending the consolidation of Northeast Illinois’ public transit agencies.

The CTA, RTA, Metra and Pace face an estimated $730 million shortfall by 2026. According to Joe Ferguson, president of the Civic Federation, full consolidation into one agency is more complicated than other options and may cost taxpayers more upfront, but it is the only way to ensure optimal use of taxpayer money.

“It’s the one that achieves the greatest amount of improvement in effectiveness, of accountability mechanisms, of transparency standards, but also efficiencies by reducing layers of parallel bureaucracies,” Ferguson said.

The Civic Federation proposed tying governance reforms to funding, and consolidating the CTA, RTA, Metra and Pace into a single agency.

Ferguson said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s latest budget proposal does not address the major budget cliff looming for regional transportation.

“The budget settled things right now and left things for a year into the future to a year into the future, right, which means the ‘fiscal cliff’ is still there,” Ferguson said.

State Sen. Donald DeWitte, R-St. Charles, said the proposed integrated agency could have control over the entire revenue stream and while the revenue model for residents of the suburbs won’t really change compared to people living in Chicago, it could change where that money goes and how it is appropriated.

“Frankly, this is what causes the most heartburn that I hear from my mayors and county chairmen in the suburbs about what this reorganization is trying to do,” said DeWitte, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

With the looming $730 million deficit, Ferguson says this is an opportunity for every generation, even if there is political resistance.

“This is why we refer to the ‘fiscal cliff’ and why we refer to it as a generational moment. This is a crisis,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson added that the next step is for a diverse coalition of interests to come together to help craft legislation.