Proposed Legislation Would Consolidate Chicago Transit Agencies

State lawmakers say the move could cut down on competition and make regional transit more efficient for riders.

1 minute read

May 1, 2024, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

CHicago elevated train on track passing by tall buildings.

Chicago 'El' train on elevated track. | kirkikis / Adobe Stock

A proposed Illinois state bill known as the Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act would combine three Chicago-area transit agencies —  Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace — into one agency, allowing riders to access all three systems with one universal fare. “The Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act is the first part of the Clean and Equitable Transportation Act, with Illinois' goal for the transportation industry 100% carbon-free by 2050,” explains Tara Molina for CBS News.

Proponents of the bill argue that a unified transit system would be “more sustainable, reliable and safe” for its riders and eliminate competition between agencies.

Molina describes the history of the three agencies, which stemmed from the 1974 establishment of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). “The Illinois General Assembly reorganized the structure and funding of the RTA in 1983, with operating responsibilities on three separate service boards – the CTA, and what became Metra and Pace.”

In response to requests for comment, all four agencies expressed openness to the idea of consolidation but emphasized the chronic underfunding that plagues each of them. According to a statement from the CTA, “To attribute the region's challenges to anything other than a funding shortage is to perpetuate a narrative that will – at best – serve as a distraction to the funding crisis we face.”

Monday, April 29, 2024 in CBS News

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