"A broad debate on mass-transit funding is set to begin Wednesday, when officials who oversee the CTA, Metra and Pace wade in to overhauling a decades-old doling-out process that some experts say doesn't do enough to serve the region's fast-changing needs," reports Jon Hilkevitch.
"New proposals in an RTA-commissioned study, which authority officials said was borne out of last year's fight over divvying up transit dollars, could link the annual distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars to better ridership growth, more reliable service or improved safety," he explains. "It could also allocate money based on competitions for grants to encourage creativity and partnerships, possibly resulting in new types of transit services."
"But tinkering with the status quo will be controversial," Hilkevitch adds. "Any changes carry the possibility of creating winners and losers — increasing funding to at least one agency while reducing it for another — unless new money is identified, officials said. Large pots of new money are not considered likely, at least not in the short term."