Category Archives: cta

>FOLLOW UP: Blago’s CTA senior subsidy a loser

>Well the chickens have come to roost on the buses and el trains of Chicago.

I am referring to Governor Rod Blagojevich’s blatantly political, self-serving legislation that gave all seniors, regardless of income, free rides (<= read that, taxpayer subsidized) on the cash starved public transportation system. He seems to think “old” means poor. Or maybe just more liberal politics designed to make everyone beholding to government for damn near everything.

As predicted, the ridership among seniors has increased – along with the budget deficit. The Governor’s plan was never about the poor. I can see some means-tested subsidy for seniors who must travel by public transportation. Give me a reason they need to travel, and show me they cannot afford it, and I say, “”give them a freebie.” Why any sane community would give gazillionaire Sam Zell (who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on his annual birthday party) a taxpayer subsidized ride is totally beyond me. It is nothing less than welfare for the greedy, not the needy.

Now with the increase in ridership, the CTA is experimenting with the idea of getting more people on each el car by removing seats and provide more standing room. This is where I start to appreciate irony. You know where I’m going … right?

Yep, we add all those shaky old people, with their canes and walkers, and we accommodate them by taking away their seats. This is a joke … a game. You put 50 tottering seniors on an el car and see how many are still standing at the end of the line. You get points for knocking them over like bowling pins. Or, maybe it is more like bumper pool, were the oldsters bounce off the more foot secure passengers until the post-prime riders all topple to the floor.

When we get these kinds of half-ass solutions, just remember that the money to solve these problems has been siphoned off by the insider crooks – which some of us call the “corruption tax.” The problem with the corruption tax is that it gets raised secretly. No budget. No vote. And until U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald indicts someone, we don’t even know where the money went.

Next time you are motivated to give up your seat to an oldster, just remember, they are not paying for the ride much less the seat.
(This gives me an idea. How about we charge extra for seats? People with seating privilege get special “seating tickets.” In fact, we can even provide “season tickets” with designated seating like the pews in the colonial churches. Hmmmm. The only problem … the crazy Governor and is friends in the legislature will probably give away all the valuable seats to the old fogies – except for the ones provided to those who have at least precinct level political clout.

That’s already how the handicap license plates and windshield signs work. I am betting a lot of you … like me … know people who have handicap car signs and are quite able bodied. If you don’t know anyone like that, just hang round a handicap parking spot and you will meet quite of few of them.)

>REACT: You can’t “fix” the CTA with money

>Governor Blagojevich has another “Dumbo” scheme to get money to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). I hate to tell Rod, but you cannot really affix wings to an elephant and make it fly.

The governor’s so-called $24 million “bailout” is supposed to prevent the CTA from making highly publicized (read that as politically harmful) cuts in service and increases in fares.

The problem is, it is not a bailout at all. The plan merely advances or loans money from next year’s budget subsidy from the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to cover the current shortage. This means the fix is a borrowed-band-aid to cover a cancer.

It does not take a rocket scientist or a corporate accountant to figure out that the scheme will only create a $24 million problem for next year’s budget.

There is only one possible fix, but it is something for which government agencies have no talent. It requires cutting fat out of the budget and streamlining operations. It means using technology to reduce payroll. Increasing ridership. The system has to be made to run more efficiently. Yes, more service for less money. Not only is that possible, it is the ONLY way to solve the problem.

Financial “fixes” and “bailouts” are like narcotics. They alleviate the current pain with the foolish belief that some how the dependency and destructiveness will be miraculously resolved in the future In fact, the future problem will be worse.

The governor would believe that the laws of economics can be ignored like Disney’s elephant ignored the laws of physics. The only difference is that Dumbo is a cartoon, and Blago is a joke – a bad one.