CTA releases proposed 2023 budget at a time of cyclist discontent – Streetsblog Chicago
CTA runner confidence is currently at an all-time low. Due to COVID-related staffing shortages, bus and train rides are often skipped, resulting in longer and less predictable wait times. For example, advocacy group Commuters Take Action analyzed public transit data and found that Wednesday only 65 percent scheduled Blue Line journeys have actually materialized.
Adding insult to injury, predicted arrival times on the CTA Train Tracker website, platform displays and various apps are based on a mix of real-time data and scheduled trips, and most of passengers do not know how to tell the difference. (Hint: a Wi-Fi wave icon next to an arrival time means it’s real, while a clock icon means it’s scheduled, and therefore just hypothetical, as you can see it in the photo below.)
I love waiting 20 minutes in the middle of the highway for the train… pic.twitter.com/PZ5IKamDeC
– Walking NPR (@WalkingNPR) October 20, 2022
In addition to that, violent crimes increased in the “L” system during the last years. And then there are annoyances like smoking and littering, which also seem to have gotten worse during the pandemic.
None of this is helping the system recover from COVID-related ridership losses. While the system recently hit a new pandemic-era high with an average of around 900,000 trips per weekday, this is only 64% of the pre-COVID norm of 1.4 million trips per day. week.
Amid all of these headwinds, the CTA today released its proposed $1.8 billion operating budget for 2023. The budget is up from $1.7 billion in 2021, and significantly higher than the approximately $1 billion allocated in 2019, thanks to an injection of funds from the federal government. COVID relief, which helps offset lower revenue from rate boxes.
The budget does not propose to raise fares, which would surely face a major backlash due to the aforementioned issues on the system. This requires more investment in hiring bus and train operators, as well as more funding for security.
“Our proposed operating budget for 2023 is both prudent and fiscally responsible, with a focus on improving essential transit services that Chicagoans rely on as the region continues to evolve after the pandemic,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said in a statement. “Over the coming year, we are committed to maximizing every dollar of our budget to both modernize our system and continue to work on the strategic initiatives outlined in support of the guiding pillars of the ‘Meeting the Moment’, which addresses the most pressing challenges facing our customers and employees.
Carter is currently in the doghouse with transit advocates and aldermen after failing to show up for his own city council hearing on September 14 about poor public transport service. The CTA blocked Streetsblog Chicago’s Freedom of Information Act request for insider information about why Carter made this seemingly foolish choice, using a loophole in FOIA law to redact all relevant information in the documents that the agency provided to us. While CTA’s budget must be approved by the agency’s board, not the city council, his ghostly vision of the alders is sure to come back to haunt him. the next time he has to ask the Council for a favor.
We filed a Freedom of Information Act request to try to find out why CTA Chairman Dorval Carter ghosted his own Sept. 14 city council hearing on poor transit service, infuriating lawyers. and alders. CTA once again used a loophole to simply hide relevant information. 🤬@CDRosa pic.twitter.com/lasKjeyk9Z
— Streetsblog Chicago (@streetsblogchi) October 18, 2022
Carter’s infuriating behavior aside, the CTA’s budget predicts ridership will continue to rebound next year, up about 9% from 2022 ridership. “To ensure that CTA meets this demand, the agency is pursuing an aggressive and comprehensive recruitment program to address the biggest issue impacting the service: attracting and retaining workers, especially frontline employees. such as bus and train operators,” the agency said in a press release. CTA hosted eight job fairs in 2022 and hired dozens of new workers, but says a thousand workers are still short, including about 100 train operators and 650 bus drivers.
The transit agency also promised to tweak the Transit Trackers’ algorithms to make them more accurate, and cited recent updates from the Bus Tracker website.
U.S. bailout funding will help fill an estimated $390 million budget shortfall in 2023, according to the transit agency. It’s unclear what the agency will do. when federal stimulus money dries up in the future, a potential fiscal cliff.
CTA also released its $3.4 billion Capital Improvement Program 2023-2027, which is separate from the operating budget. This includes money for extending the red line south, which people have been asking for since the Nixon era.
The Red Line Extension, which will extend the CTA’s busiest rail line to the southern city limits, and provide significantly improved transit access and connectivity to Chicago’s far south end. The capital plan also includes
- All Station Accessibility Program, to make all ADA “L” stations accessible
- Extension of the fleet of electric buses, with the aim of electrifying the whole fleet by 2040
- Refresh and renewwhich covers short-term station improvements
- Better streets for busesa map for (modest) improvements to the bus lanes Through the city
Questions raised by the press release include how well the station’s accessibility upgrades are going. And why is there no discussion of future route and line planning, apart from extending the red line?
Further information on the proposed budget for 2023 is available at transitchicago.com.
A virtual public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on November 10, 2022. The CTA says that “due to health concerns” there will be no in-person hearings, although it’s likely more a matter of cost and convenience for the agency.
A link to view the hearing will be available at transitchicago.com/finance. Residents wishing to speak at the virtual public hearing may submit their request prior to the hearing. Options for providing comments at the virtual hearing or submitting to the Chicago Transit Board the Proposed 2023-2027 Capital Projects Program, 2022 Operating Budget and Program, and Financial Plan for 2023 and 2024 are detailed below. -below. (The following is the language of the agency.)
WRITTEN STATEMENTS: Written submissions will be considered prior to adoption of the proposed 2023-2027 Capital Projects Program, 2023 Operating Budget and Program, and Financial Plan for 2023 and 2024. Written comments for review and consideration by the Chicago Transit Board must be submitted no later than Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Written comments can be submitted in one of the following ways:
- Via US Mail, CTA Board Office, 567 W. Lake Street, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60661
- By drop off at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, 1st Floor Mailroom
- By fax at 312-681-5035
- By email at [email protected]
ORAL STATEMENTS: Members of the public who wish to speak at the virtual public hearing are encouraged to register prior to the hearing, by completing and submitting an online speaking request form at transitchicago.com/ finance. Persons registered online no later than Wednesday November 9, 2022, the day before the hearing, will be called by the CTA, at the telephone number provided, during the hearing of November 10, 2022, to be put in touch with the virtual public hearing process.
DIAL DURING THE HEARING: Members of the public can also log in, while the hearing is in progress, to request to speak, by dialing 312-681-3091. Those who register in advance to speak will first be considered for the virtual public hearing. People who call while the hearing is in progress will then speak in the order in which they call.
During the Virtual Public Hearing, the CTA will provide interested persons or organizations with the opportunity to be heard on the social, economic, environmental and other aspects of the proposed 2023-2027 capital projects program, budget and 2023 operating program, proposed tariffs Reductions and the financial plan for 2023 and 2024.
During the virtual public hearing, an American Sign Language interpreter and a Spanish interpreter will be provided. Persons with disabilities who require other accommodations to review the budget or provide feedback should contact Gregory Longhini, Board Secretary, at [email protected], 312-681-5022 or Relay.