Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the City Club Chicago about the current state of our mass transit system. At the RTA, our vision is that public transit is the very core of the region’s transportation and logistics network. People use it to get to work, school, medical appointments, and much more. They ride during rush hour, the middle of the day, and at night. Stable, dedicated funding for our transit system is one of the greatest investments we can make in our region.
With newly elected leadership in Springfield and Chicago, this great state and region simply must seize this moment to pass a capital bill that puts transit infrastructure funding on the path to sustainability. For the sake of our residents and businesses, we must work together and convince Governor J.B. Pritzker and the General Assembly that transit investments are crucial for Illinois and metropolitan Chicago to thrive.
The absence of a state capital program since 2009 (a decade!) has left a sizable gap in transit investments across several consecutive budget cycles for the CTA, Metra and Pace. We have had to defer many critical investments due to the unavailability of state funding—about a third of the region’s transit assets are beyond their useful life!
From my years in Springfield, I understand the pressure on our elected officials to tackle daunting issues in a time of serious statewide budget challenges. With our new Governor Pritzker, new Mayor Lightfoot, and hopefully newly motivated legislators, I believe the moment has come for bold action that will have tangible benefits and lasting impacts.
I closed my speech encouraging everyone in the room to get involved in our campaign urging our elected officials in Springfield to support a sustainable and adequate funding plan for public transportation by going to www.GetonBoardIL.org. Investment in transit is the most powerful way to ensure that our great region keeps its place at the economic forefront here in America and abroad.
If you’re interested in watching the speech, check it out below.