I want to take a moment to celebrate the RTA’s accomplishments in 2018 and highlight our plans for 2019 and beyond. Our efforts collaborating with CTA, Metra, and Pace (the Transit Agencies) this year have benefited riders who rely on our robust system to get to and from work, school, run errands, and experience what this great region has to offer. It’s also important to note that residents benefit even if they don’t ride our system, as our system attracts jobs and employers and keeps cars off of our already clogged roadways.
Still, as a daily transit rider into and around Chicago nearly every day, I know first-hand the challenges riders sometimes face in their daily commutes. It’s no secret that the lack of funding for public transportation is at the forefront of our issues. State budget actions for fiscal years 2017 through 2019 reduced operating funding for public transportation by $152 million. The State hasn’t passed a capital bill since 2009.
How do we get through tough economic obstacles like State cuts? It’s not easy. The Transit Agencies utilize efficiencies where appropriate and trim budgets where we can. Neither CTA, Metra nor Pace plan fare increases in 2019, but Pace is reducing or eliminating twelve underutilized routes.
Even with these funding obstacles, the Transit Agencies are still delivering excellent service with limited resources. As always thank you for riding with us, and I hope you continue to ride in 2019.