A Sinking Ship? Heading Chicago's Transit Agency

Like many transit agencies across the country, the economic recession has limited the capacity of Chicago's CTA to maintain itself. Governing talks with the man tasked with saving -- and recreating -- the troubled system.

"Chicago's transit system--the country's second largest with an average 1.8 million riders every weekday--faces some of the nation's most dire challenges. It has more than $7 billion in unfunded maintenance needs. On parts of the system, for example, trains engineered to speed along at 70 mph now must slow to a 15 mph crawl because the fragile rails can't handle faster speeds. 'They're going at the speed of a horse and buggy because the rails are literally eroding and coming loose from the ties,' says Ben Forman, research director for MassINC, a nonpartisan, Boston-based public policy think tank. 'When transit breaks down as it has in Chicago, cities lose a big part of their core.'

Puentes is more blunt about the Windy City's problems: 'The system in Chicago needs to be rebuilt almost from scratch.'"

Governing profiles the new head of the CTA, Richard Rodriguez, about the challenge he faces.

Full Story: Chicago's Transit Chief


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