The [Friday] Papers
New CTA chief Ron Huberman says fares will rise to $3.25 a ride and the Yellow Line and Purple Line Express will be shut down if the state doesn't step up with an adequate funding package,
The Sun-Times splashes the story on its front page with the headline "Is The CTA Bluffing?"
The paper lists seven previous doomsday warnings issued by the CTA since 1997, implying that the agency is crying wolf.
Another way to look at it, though, is that the CTA is continually operating in crisis mode because it has never had a secure funding stream and workable business model.
Which isn't to say there isn't a bit of politics going on. Threatening to shut down the Purple Line Express, for example, is sure to get the attention of North Shore suburbanites who might not otherwise be engaged in what is usually seen as a city matter.
But the larger question is why nobody has come up with a fresh vision for the CTA after all these years, both in funding and operations. Yes, there are plans for line extensions such as the Blue Line to Schaumburg, the Orange Line to Ford City, and the Yellow Line to Old Orchard, and, of course, the dreaded Circle Line and such - all of which have been sitting on a shelf for years. But where is the larger vision? This is an agency, under the mayor's watchful eye, that proposed eliminating the Brown Line not too many years ago for lack of ridership. Can you imagine?
If the mayor really wanted to, he could have found someone with a vision to turn the CTA on its head - and combine it with a regional transportation plan that by the way includes building the airport in Peotone.
Until that happens, it will be more of the same. Threats, service cuts, fare hikes, cuts and hikes avoided, last-minute budgets, and more threats the next time around. It's not bluffing; it's just the way it is.
Headline reusable. Just insert "Iraq," "Health Care," "Global Warming," or whatever else is the issue of the day.
I've got another idea, given the recent news that we have the nation's worst mail service. Let's make it a post office.
Our Stupid Aldermen
Actually, the team looked worse on paper. Nobody expected Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis to actually earn their outsized contracts. The rest we knew.
This is your media.
And the running track for the 2016 Olympics is now scheduled for completion in 2017.
Juxtaposition of the Day
He opens his column asking "Just how stupid are people supposed to be?" and then he proceeds to show us.
In Today's Reporter
* In our new T-Ball Journal, the Rookie League Red Sox take on the Obama Cubs.
* Who's going to jail next? Find out in The Political Odds.
* Finding Nazi guards in Middle America. In The Periodical Table.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Electronically activated.
Posted on May 25, 2007
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