Carol Moseley Braun Issues Transit Policy Position Paper
February 8, 2011 -- Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun issued the following position statement on her transit policy for the city of Chicago:
Transit is the circulatory system of our city. Unfortunately, our arteries are getting clogged up. Chicago only works if transit is working well, and as Mayor, I will set a goal to double transit ridership in 10 years. That means a 10% growth rate in ridership every year. All of my transit appointees will be judged and held accountable for that aggressive goal. Among those appointees to the CTA Board will be a representative of the Amalgamated Transit Union, forging a new partnership between organized labor and the CTA.
As Mayor, I will implement the following eleven point plan:
*Modernize the Red Line and Extend it to 130th Street.
The North Red Line is the busiest rail line in the CTA system, and it is in need of a complete overhaul. I will work to rebuild the Red Line as a New Start, just as the Brown and Pink (then-Blue) lines were rebuilt with federal funds.
I will work to secure the necessary federal funds, and explore using private funds, to build the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street and finally connect the Far South Side of Chicago with the CTA rail network.
* On the floor of the United States Senate, lobby for similar federal legislation as HR 2746 from the last Congress, which would allow federal funding to be used for operations, not just equipment, and avoid service cuts and fare increases.
* Increase frequency of bus and rail service. Working in partnership with the ATU locals who provide the service, we will put more runs on the street by modernizing the bus route network and finding operating efficiencies on each route to get more service on the street.
* Speed up bus routes. We can’t increase frequency of service if our buses are too slow. We will take each route and find ways to speed up the service. Fewer bus stops, better bus stop placements, pre-paid boardings, and traffic signal coordination are all options to be considered for every route. We will not wait for the federal government to fund our bus rapid transit program – we will make all of our bus routes more rapid.
* Bring back the X bus routes that provided express bus service on major arterials. One of the worst aspects of the cutbacks in service two years ago was the loss of the express bus routes. Working with the ATU, I will bring back these bus routes by the end of my term.
* More Metra service in the city. The Mayor makes an appointment to Metra’s board and I will work very hard to make sure that Metra service in the city is increased to meet the growing demand. I will also work to create new stations in the city, including at 79th Street on the Rock Island and at Peterson on the UP North. I will work closely with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the suburban Cook Commissioners to ensure that our Metra appointees, who make up a majority of the Metra Board, work to ensure that Cook County receive the service our economy demands.
* Allow transfers between the Metra Electric line and the CTA. The disjointed fare policy that does not allow Metra and CTA passengers to transfer between each service is ridiculous, and I will begin the long overdue connection with the Metra Electric line. This is the start of the Grey Line proposal.
* More investment in transit from Springfield and Washington. The state and federal governments’ transportation formulae underfund transit in favor of roads. I will build a statewide and national coalition of transit riders, mayors and business leaders to push for the investment in transit that our economy needs. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has been a leader in creating national coalitions for transit, and I will revive that tradition.
* Cut back on middle management. While the workforce at the CTA has shrunk over the last two decades, middle management has risen. I will reverse that trend.
* Fund more bus routes from employers. The University of Chicago funds four CTA bus routes (the 170, 171, 172 and 192) which brings mobility to Hyde Park. This is a win-win scenario as it is cheaper for the University to pay for the bus service than it is to pay for parking lots. I will aggressively seek more partnerships to fund more bus service with private and public institutions throughout the city, so they can spend less on parking and open up their land to more productive uses.
* Focus on marketing and communications to get more riders. Chicago is the marketing capital of the country, but we do not do a good job selling the CTA to potential riders, particularly international tourists. It can be confusing and bewildering to navigate our system, and with a renewed focus on ridership growth, the CTA will earn new riders through better marketing and communications.