Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feds to Metra: Transit gridlock might kill rail upgrades, new projects

From the Daily Harold. My goodness our leaders in Springfield might truly be playing with dynamite here. One can't stay serious long enough and the others are just playing politics. Even one politician I can respect down there more than others. Anyway read on...
Gridlock in Springfield could lead to disastrous consequences for Chicago-area mass transit even beyond higher fares and service cuts, federal lawmakers warned today.

The Federal Transit Administration has told Metra officials that work on projects, including the STAR Line, which would link the North and Northwest suburbs with O'Hare International Airport, already is on hold.

And if state lawmakers fail to come up with a capital bill that provides matching dollars for transit improvements, the STAR Line and upgrades to the Union Pacific's North and Northwest lines could die, Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano cautioned.

At stake is about $1.5 billion in federal funds explained U.S. Reps. Melissa Bean and Mark Kirk during a press conference in Chicago.

"Mass transit is critical to suburban areas," said Bean, a Barrington Democrat. "We're here to tell our parties they need to get to the table."
The article mentions in its last sentence that gambling is being proposed to pay for capital projects. Now the trick is getting this passed and signed into law. It's not a panacea but it's an idea or at least a possible solution.

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