Monday, January 14, 2008

In This Case, Do NOT Spare 'The Rod"

Funding for mass transit in Chicago, for those of you who don't live in Chicago, has been a joke. For the past several months, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) who administers and governs Chicago mass transit, has given the city at least three deadlines that service will be cut, only to have the state government ride in at the last minute with a temporary funding package. The last deadline, scheduled for January 20th, requires a permanent plan to fund mass transit in Chicago - the same city that is trying to obtain the 2016 Olympics (not sure how a city can pull off an Olympics if it can't manage something as basic as mass transit).

Last week, a proposed plan to permanently fund and fix CTA's problems was passed through Illinois government, then sent to Governor Rod Blagojevich to sign and thus enact. Rod, however, has added a last minute spin. He'll sign it, as long as senior citizens are allowed to ride CTA free. This presents a problem: if the government accepts this addition, it takes on added costs to the already ballooned debt owed by CTA, and if the state denies this addition, state congressmen will appear to be the heartless people who wouldn't help out older constituents.

Shame on G-Rod!

Not only does this present an additional problem, but I don't see how making a public program available for free to a blanket group of people is either fair or ethical. Sure, in theory, is a lovely idea to help seniors out. But not all senior citizens are poor. I can see giving them a discount, but not a "free ride".

For that matter, why not extend the offer to disabled persons? Not all disabled persons need the financial help, so the government will then need to determine what constitutes a disability. There are some people who are mentally disabled who cannot work and could use a break such as this, just like there are some who are physically disable who can work and don't need the assistance.

And while we're at it, the lowest paid ethnic group of people in Chicago is the Latino community, so why don't they get the "free ride" addendum as well? Or is that the Polish-American community? Or the African-American community? Maybe we should just say "Anyone who earns under $15,000 a year should ride CTA for free".

The thing is, Rod's plan will probably pass because CTA is too necessary for Chicago (personally my bus route to work and home is one that will be cut). D-Day is next Sunday for Chicago. So either Rod gets his way, or I am walking to work from now on.


  1. I couldn’t agree more.

    Under the previous fare structure, and the new one, seniors and people with disabilities will get a reduced fare that is sometimes more than half of the regular fare (depending on how you pay).

    With each “Doomsday Scenario” the number of routes eliminated and layoffs announced gets worse. In November they were going to cut one of the routes that run along Marine Drive and Inner Lake Shore in Buena Park and Uptown. If funding doesn’t come through on Sunday ALL of them are going to be cut.

    I better plan to work from home next Monday.

  2. Hmmmm....what constituent group votes regularly and in large numbers?

    G-Rod is an A-hat.

  3. I would have been one of the "heartless" people. I live in Chicago and think that seniors already get a discount (as you mentioned before). The only thing G-Rod is doing, in my opinion, is making everyone else upset.

    Plus why is it that he felt as though he had to go to a church on the south side and give that stupid speech. If you look at the clip of him giving it the woman behind him is looking at him like he's the biggest piece of s*it to hit that stage in a while.

    While I'm happy that they did pass it, it's only going to cause trouble a few more years down the road.