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Sunday letters: ‘Where transit goes, community grows’

SHARE Sunday letters: ‘Where transit goes, community grows’
SHARE Sunday letters: ‘Where transit goes, community grows’

Kudos for stressing the importance of the region’s transportation future (“Build a transit network for the future” — Aug. 24). The editorial said, “We need a bigger and better transit system.” That sums it all up. We at the RTA work to support the efforts of Mayor Emanuel and others in the region to foster transit-oriented developments.Since 1998, the RTA has provided staff and resources to create over 100TOD plans in our region to assure more residents can live and work near transit.The RTA’s Capital Asset Condition report shows the region’s capital needs are $36.1 billion. This includes the region’s mass transit “State of Good Repair” backlog — or what it would take to “catch up” and fund the unmet needs that have accumulated over time — which is $19.5 billion.

One funding proposal is to increase the federal gas tax, which has been18.4 cents a gallon since 1993.Twenty-two years ago, theprice of gas at the pump was a little over a $1 a gallon.If the gas tax had been indexed to inflation when it was last increased, it would be approximately 30 cents a gallon today. Congress set this tax rate to ensure enoughfunds for the Federal Highway Trust Fund to keep our roads and bridges in good repair.Most of the funding goes to build and fix our roads, bridges and highways; about 14 percent goes to our public transportation systems.Our highway and transit needs are growing and it’s time for our state and federal legislators to pass long-term, sustainable legislation that provides the funding needed to maintain and expand our excellent transit system.Studies show that every dollar invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.

The RTA’scredit rating is among the best in the public sectorand 2008RTA legislation produced the only substantive public employment pension reform that continues to be successful for the CTA.The RTA region’s system has the lowest operating cost per passenger mile of our peers and ranks second highest in fare per passenger trip of our top 10 peer regions.We rank third in our peer group for traveling the longest distance in service without experiencing major mechanical failures, even as 30 percent of our vehicles are in need of replacement. We are investing our limited resources wisely.Whether it’s new rail cars for Metra and CTA, buses for CTA and Pace, bridge and track work, or station modernization, our region’s capital funding needs are real. I call on those who can to make the tough choices and help us all do as the Sun-Times demands:“Build a transit network for the future.”Where transit goes, community grows.

Kirk Dillard, Chairman

RTA Board of Directors

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Look closer at 2nd Amendment

Second Amendment fans, please note: The “well regulated” clause not only has the same length as the “shall not be infringed” part, but it comes first. The Founding Fathers saw the need for control, and they had only flintlocks and muzzle loaders to worry about.

Richard Blough, Hyde Park

Stuck in a broken state

Illinois is too broken to fix.Our state budget is a hot mess as our politicians bicker and play games with people’s money.We have had two former governors in jail at the same time, the latest crying he only played by the rules laid before him.We pass a sensible law on medical marijuana but, after 1 ½ years, nothing has opened yet.And we were the last state in the nation to allow concealed carry, and yep, we screwed that up, too.Reports of permits being given to people with arrests that should have disqualified them (“Concealed gun law decisions allow questionable people to carry” — Aug. 28) show that as a state we are as dysfunctional as the Simpsons. If I had a job that allowed me to move somewhere else, I would do it.But I don’t, so I am stuck here, eking by, hoping that someone in Springfield will wave a magic wand and make us great again.

Scot Sinclair, Gurnee

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