Rahm: Chicago public transit needs ongoing federal support

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 3, 2017

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel slammed New York City's dysfunctional subway system in a New York Times op-ed piece on Monday, spurring conflict among some of the nation's most liberal politicians. Beyond mild frustrations such as delays and the cleanliness of stations, MTA riders have had to endure through more egregious events in recent months.

"On Thursday, in the wake of a subway derailment and an epidemic of train delays, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of NY declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the busiest mass transit system in America".

"Meanwhile, in Chicago", Rahm segues, "a recent survey found that 85 percent of passengers are satisfied with service on our transit system, the nation's second most used". However, Emanuel points to the CTA's management structure (which falls under city jurisdiction) and the city's prioritization of improving existing infrastructure versus expanding as major reasons for the CTA's success. The mayor added that by 2019, "40 stations will be reconstructed or brand new, and half of our tracks will be new".

He also stated that Chicago's management structure is another reason for the good results, because the mayor is directly responsible for mass transit, as opposed to NY, where it is the governor, or Washington, where it is an agency that includes representatives of two states and the federal government.

"Last year, more than 238 million rides were taken on the system, which, unlike the ones in NY and Washington, has not been troubled by systemic failures, breakdowns and delays". The CTA's annual ridership sit at about 238 million (2016; PDF), compared to New York's 1.757 billion yearly riders (2016). Our system operates 24 hours per day, while parts of theirs stop running entirely once it gets late.

Emanuel also attributed the Windy City's success to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Core Capacity Improvement Program. Lack of long-term infrastructure investment.

"Modernizing our existing mass transit is one reason Chicago's economy has expanded faster than the economies of NY and Washington, and faster than the national average for the last five years", Emanuel wrote.

"Rather than tweeting about violence in Chicago", Emanuel wrote, "President Trump should be looking to Chicago as a model for the infrastructure investments and economic growth he wants to replicate across the country".

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