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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is public transportation a right?

This quote extrapolated from the CTA Tattler from a statement made from the Chicago Transit authority after CTA President Richard Rodriguez and President of ATU Local 241 Darrell Jefferson appeared on Tuesday's Chicago Tonight.
Meanwhile, Jefferson backed off a bit from yesterday's strike talk, saying, "It's not something we're advocating." Of course, Rodriguez then reminded him that any strike would be illegal. And it "would only serve to harm riders and interfere with the public's right to transit," the CTA said in a separate statement.
Now we're going into philosophy here. This would count as a positive right as something that the government must provide. Public transit can go right into the idea of government providing for the right to jobs, economic opportunity, housing, food, health care and perhaps some other things we may accept as necessary for people to need.

When Rodriguez refers to the public's right to public transit, he may lose me and I'm definitely a supporter of that. If we're going to need this service it has to be run better than it has been in recent years. If it's treated as a right as something that must be provided for then who's to say that in the future it may not otherwise be cut or indeed provided for in overabundance only to run into the problems that we're facing today.

Because of funding issues CTA had to cut service on the L and bus routes. However as a transit rider, I've had no problems, but that's only speaking for me.

Another problem I'm glad is being addressed in Springfield is the free rides for seniors that were placed in transit bailout legislation in 2008 by then Governor, Rod Blagojevich. It may well be one reason in part why the CTA is facing less revenue in a serious economic downturn. Of course, the reason why it hasn't been addressed until now has been the lack of political will.

Hopefully we can address these funding issues and CTA will have a better financial future when the nation finally emerges from this economic downturn.

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