Waiting For Chicagoland’s Transit Crisis to Work Itself Out

For the past few months I’ve been watching the CTA, Pace and Metra sweat out multiple funding crisises, only to have the final solution pushed back.

The only problem: What IS the final solution?

It could be proper funding (i.e. an actual sales tax, of about 1%, spread around the six county area), a jury-rigged answer (more casinos, including one on what used to be Meigs Field) or nothing (let the stuff stand by and fall apart).

I’m sitting in Northwest Indiana, watching the circus from “a safe distance.” That safe distance being a state which lobbies for its leading industries to be allowed to do more polluting (and which is opposed by a state next door that is about to force its mass transit to fall apart but is overly eager and willing to deny a county across the state line from it its industries and sources of income) and has apologized for standing on “the wrong side of the Civil War.” They once had a good, unified interurban system but have since embraced the automobile and the eighty-year planning window for road improvements.

I came from a place with good mass transit (and the will to improve it); and while Northwest Indiana has crappy, disjointed Transit (most counties with this many people would unite their services into one county-wide service), there has been enough service to and from Illinois to justify it as a half-way livable place. Remove the money from Illinois Transit (as their Neocon Governor wishes to do) and you get an unlivable urban area with too little roadway and too much demand.

And all this at a time when we need to DEVELOP mass transit.

If the CTA, Metra and Pace lose their funding, I’m going to have to turn away from any and all wishes I have had to move there. I’ve had to put a hold on my ambitions (my financial footing is actually the best it’s ever been), but this may force me to just give up on it.


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