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November 18, 2019

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Public transportation is essential to the RTA region’s prosperity.  By providing almost two million rides per day for work, school, appointments, and many other purposes, transit is a key driver of our economy.

The RTA reviews, adopts, and monitors the annual operating budgets and five-year capital programs of all three Service Boards (CTA, Metra, and Pace). The Proposed 2020 Regional Transit Operating Budget and Capital Program is now available for public comment.

On Thursday, November 21, at 9:00 a.m., the RTA will hold public hearings around the region to  seek your feedback about these investment plans.  You will hear directly from the transit agencies in presentations to the RTA Finance Committee about our proposed 2020 operating budgets and five-year capital programs.   A live video stream will also be available at  Comments can also be emailed to or sent via US mail to RTA, Attention Audrey Maclennan, 175 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 1650, Chicago, Illinois, 60604.  The public comment period is open until the RTA Board votes on the proposals at its December 19 meeting.

This year, after nearly a decade without a State capital program, Rebuild Illinois was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Pritzker.  It provides a needed infusion of capital funds for transit in the RTA region, with $2.6 billion over five years in new bonding authority and an estimated $227 million annually in sustainable State revenue, referred to as “PAYGO” funding.

The RTA and the Service Boards prepared for a long-awaited capital infusion by adopting the Invest in Transit strategic regional plan for 2018-2023 and the accompanying Priority Projects document, outlining the region’s projected $30 billion in transit capital needs over the next decade.

The RTA has been working with CTA, Metra and Pace for months to establish how to best invest these dollars and assure riders benefit. We’ve agreed on five guiding principles in this work:

  • Begin decreasing the region-wide backlog of deferred projects.
  • Focus spending on projects that can be completed in a timely manner.
  • Provide near-term programming and planning certainty.
  • Allow for long-term adaptability and transparency of future transportation priorities.
  • Continue conducting transparent, data-driven project selection through our annual budgeting process.

We know you rely on our transit system every day. Even if you don’t ride, you benefit from its importance to our regional economy and the traffic reduction in brings to our roadways.  We hope you’ll take part in this important 2020 planning process and make your voice heard on November 21.

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