"State lawmakers thought they fixed the funding problems, at least for 5 to 10 years, when they voted to increase mass-transit subsidies by boosting the transit portion of the sales tax in the six-county area. Chicago also increased its real estate transfer tax, directing more money to the CTA.Jim Reilly, chair of the Regional Transportation Authority, the board that oversees finances at the three agencies, told Chicago Public Radio that the agencies shouldn't look to the state legislature for a new bailout. He added his agency hopes to find solutions that don't involve fare hikes or service reductions. CTA raised fares last month.
But sales taxes and real estate taxes have plummeted during the economic slowdown, reigniting the budget crisis.
"We all thought that the hard-won . . . legislation would provide sufficient resources to operate our system," RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman wrote to the heads of the transit agencies. "And while that legislation did increase our funding, as soon as it became law, economic conditions wiped out much of what we gained."
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