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CMAP completes report on regional transit for Illinois General Assembly

October 13, 2023

221107 RTA 1617

This week, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) completed its Plan of Action for Regional Transit (PART) report and will submit it to the Illinois General Assembly as required under state statute.

Illinois Public Act 102-1028 tasked CMAP with developing legislative recommendations on the region's transit system while leveraging findings and input from the RTA’s Transit is the Answer strategic plan, as well as CMAP's Mobility Recovery project.

The report comes in the context that the region’s transit agencies are heading toward a fiscal cliff with an expected budget shortfall of $730 million in 2026 as COVID federal relief dollars run out and ridership remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Although the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace were not members of the steering committee that helped develop the report, staff from the transit agencies were asked to present information to inform the report’s three sections – the system we want, how to pay for it, and how to implement it.

“There is a clear regional consensus on the most critical factor affecting transit – historic and ongoing underfunding of the system. To move toward our shared vision of a modern, safe, efficient, and accessible transit system, we must first address funding. This lack of investment predates the pandemic. The funding structure developed in 1983 has never provided enough funding to fully support regional transit operations,” said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden.

“The PART process has also shown more work needs to be done to build regional consensus on how to achieve our funding goals and improve efficiency and accountability across the system. The RTA is eager to work with regional and state partners to pursue reforms that will strengthen the current approach to service delivery, fare policy, capital investment, and many other issues. Legislators can continue to challenge and incentivize agencies to deliver on regional service, equity, and climate goals. But these discussions must happen in the context of understanding the revenue and resources the system will have available,” Redden said.

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