letter to the editor, re: expanding public transit

Hey look at that, the Tribune printed a letter I wrote. It's inferior to the op-ed, but hits the same points. Unfortunately they changed my correct spelling of the word El to the Tribune's style "L". Three of the seven letters today criticize what's going on with the CTA.

Moving the public

You argue that the CTA should take care of its basic maintenance needs before building new services ("Crosstown back from the dead," Editorial, Feb. 26). But often federal funds are available that can only be used on new construction. Adequately funding existing public transit should be the first priority, but it shouldn't distract us from the ambitious expansion plans that might someday allow the metro region to escape its destructive addiction to cars. In fact, long-term planning is going on right now—but for the wrong things. Mayor Richard M. Daley and the CTA have fast-tracked the Circle Line and Block 37 airport express. These two projects might please Daley's well-heeled campaign contributors, but they do little for the huge sections of the city underserved by public transit.

Let's spend that money instead building the Mid-City Transitway "L" line on the old Crosstown Expressway route and extensions of the Dan Ryan Red Line, the Orange Line and the Yellow Line that have been discussed for years.



Eric said...

Congrats on getting a letter published! A lot of people don't understand the difference between capital budgets and operational ones, which I always find surprising. Of course, the problem is, if we can't or are unwilling to properly fund the operation and ongoing maintenance of the toys we already have, how in the world are we going to keep an expanded system running? Unless we see a structural change in the way transit funding is configured (at all levels of government), expanding the system is a very problematic proposition.

Jake said...

agreed. it's blindingly obvious to me that taxes on cars and gas should be dramatically increased, with the revenues spent on public transit. call your state rep on this, they'll be considering tax increases to fund cta, metra, and pace soon, and one of the taxes under discussion is the gas tax.

Chris said...

wow, this is a red letter day. the shut out in chicago is finally over. way to go.