Thursday, April 14, 2005


Political Brinkmanship

Here in Chicago there is a lot of talk of 'doomsday' on July 17th which is the date the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has set for large-scale service cuts and fare increases.

On Public Radio this evening there was the usual left-liberal horror of the effect a cut in public transport will have on congestion. Well to these people I say, firstly, I have never seen a city less congested than Chicago. And secondly, what little traffic there is, would be considerably reduced if you started taking buses off the road. These vast articulated monsters jam entire streets as they maneuver (turning left or right from the center of the road), stop in the middle of the street, and enter junctions when their exit is not clear, blocking cross-traffic when the lights change. And considering how empty a lot of buses are, if their riders took to their cars instead, it wouldn't increase the amount of traffic greatly. (The "L", obviously, is another matter.)

Apparently this will happen if lawmakers in Springfield can't cough up an additional $55M.

Am I the only one who finds this rather odd?

Here you can download a 4MB PDF file containing the CTA's 2004 budget. On pages 38-43 it appears that their annual operating budget is just south of $1BN.

When you consider they spend $14M on "General Counsel" and $2.7M on "Government Affairs and Affirmative Action" it starts to look like the $55M they need to stave off "doomsday" starts to resemble a drop in the ocean. Why is the CTA making such a big fuss over it?

I wonder what's really going on?

UPDATE: Probably something like this
You really gotta understand Chicago better. You know damn well that there are cronies to pay off, and that Krusei needs $50MM because Daley needs to pay off all those dudes who lost the hired truck contracts in the latest FBI raid.

Scarily enough - I may not be that far off!
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