Posts Tagged: Metra

Congress to Chicago: Let’s not cross that bridge when we come to it

Last year the Federal Railroad Administration gave Illinois $133 million to construct a rail bridge in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood in order to eliminate “thousands of hours of delays each year for Metra and Amtrak riders.” This year, though, that money has been cut in the U.S. House’s just-passed budget, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch. Hilkevitch writes that the cut has “nothing to do with the merits of the project” but instead is about House Republicans’ pledge to reduce domestic spending. Illinois’ Dick Durbin, the no 2. Democrat in the Senate, goes a step farther and calls the lost bridge money a “mindless cut.”

Clean air on the cheap — and yet the cuts keep coming

Can America find $350,000 to keep the air cleaner in one of our largest cities?  Reporting by the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne regarding cuts in a pollution-reduction program for Chicago area Metra trains shows how Congress’s priorities may be out of whack. (more…)

Let’s find out why Chicago air stinks

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has called for a federal investigation of air pollution from Chicago area Metra trains and other pollution sources, following a Chicago Tribune investigation. WLS radio reports that Durbin wrote letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration with the request that they review particulate matter in the atmosphere around Metra trains and train stations. (more…)

Public transit public health problem

Metra train

The Obama administration and environmentalists generally view public transportation as an environmentally wise mode of commuting.  However, a fleet of Chicago public transit trains exposes commuters to dangerous levels of diesel exhaust. (more…)

Does Chicago Public Transit Discriminate Based on Race?

CTA Route Map

Interesting news today in the Chicago Transit Authority’s evergreen struggle to provide adequate public transit: two plaintiffs have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all CTA black and Latino riders that says the Regional Transit Authority has violated civil rights laws. The Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch reports that the plaintiffs contend that the RTA and state of Illinois fund Metra — a train system that serves a mostly white city and suburban population — at the expense of CTA — a subway and bus system that serves the entire city of Chicago. (If you’re confused about the bureaucratic structure of Chicago area public transit, I explained the RTA/CTA/Metra relationship a few months ago).

The prevailing storyline about transit in Illinois is that the state simply doesn’t have the money to provide great public transit. However, the plaintiffs have a point that service cutbacks — like the frequent running of buses — are quicker to come in black and Latino neighborhood’s miles away from the city’s downtown.