In Friday morning's Chicago Tribune, Richard Wronski notes the un-success of the RTA's "Moving Beyond Congestion" lobbying effort in Springfield. Today's email brings news that the Concerned Commuters of Northeastern Illinois will be taking their petitions to Governor Blagojevich's office at the State of Illinois building Monday morning at 10 am. CCNI is the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and "20+ community group representatives and transit activists."
Transit Doomsday has been proclaimed so often, it's easy to forget that it could really come. If the CTA is reduced from an alternative way of getting around to a rush-hour-only convenience, then Chicago will have devolved into a bloated version of Springfield or Indianapolis. These officials and activists are fighting the good fight, but they're caught between a rock and a hard place.
Specifically, they're asking state taxpayers to pony up money that will be managed by Mayor Daley and his appointees, who over the years have shown little ability to listen or to involve the public in setting sensible transit priorities. (What would a real CTA director sound like? Check out this from Beachwood Reporter.) And it's not just bad CTA priorities like the express from Block 37, it's general. I for one would trade every green roof and solar panel in the damn city for a transit system good enough to make driving seem like a fool's errand.