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CTA is no world-class transit system

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:43PM

The Sun-Times Editorial Board is right that the CTA has a reasonable budget plan, given the agency’s chronic funding shortfalls. But we don’t agree that the public should give government officials a pass when it comes to funding and policies that give transit a back seat to roads and highways.

Because of persistent underfunding, the proposed fare increase allows the CTA only to maintain its inadequate service. CTA buses are slow, and many Chicagoans don’t live near a train station or can’t get where they need to go by train. With high gas prices and clogged roads, people want more transit options. Instead, the CTA will provide 16 percent less bus service and 4 percent less train service in 2013 compared with 2009, and riders will pay more for it under CTA’s proposed budget. These problems contribute to the CTA’s lagging ridership in comparison to peer cities.

The public might support large fare increases if the CTA delivered better service for current riders and more options for new riders. Chicagoans want the Red Line extension, a network of Bus Rapid Transit routes that operate like trains, and bus service restored to 31st Street and Lincoln Avenue. But Chicago won’t get a top-notch transit system unless our elected officials give transit its fair share of transportation funding. The CTA deserves credit for making the most of a bad situation, but transit riders are disappointed that the CTA cannot yet deliver the world-class system Chicago needs.

Ron Burke,executive director

Active Transportation Alliance

Voting didn’t come easily

I’m a 77-year-old vet explaining to a 62-year-old pal of mine what a poll tax is.

When I was four or five years old in Sanderson, Texas, I would hear my uncles talking about not being able to vote because they could not afford to pay a $2 poll tax.

Sgt. John E. Cobos, Addison

Woe for the little guy

Until recently, I was a security guard at a pharmacy. My company, a security service contractor, lost our contract. Another company underbid us.

Without hesitation, the pharmacy company tore up our contract. Now right before Christmas we’re scrambling for work. Big companies just don’t care about us little people. We barely make ends meet.

Steven L. Kispetik, Portage Park

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