"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.