Chicago’s mass transit is a boon to downtown employment

Mass transit is the region’s best “economic equalizer” since more than 500,000 jobs are within a 45-minute commute of area residents.

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More Chicagoans are working downtown, rather than in the city’s neighborhoods, and that trend will continue, Ed Zotti writes. AP

Recently Chicago has led the nation in corporate relocations, so it is not surprising that Ed Zotti’s outstanding column “Where the Jobs Are”, concluded that employment is heavily downtown.

His column makes the case for mass transit being the region’s best “economic equalizer” since more than a half-million jobs are within a 45-minute commute of area residents by transit.

The Metropolitan Planning Council in its “Transit Means Business” study, indicated that over 50% of new jobs and 85% of new commercial development the past decade were within a half-mile of mass transit with 76% of new multi-family housing within a 10-minute walk of a CTA or Metra stop.

So it is time to invest in transit, which produces a 4-to-1 return.

Transit also saves the average daily commuter nearly $12,000 annually, which greatly mitigates Chicagoland’s cost of living. Even if you do not use transit, rush hour drivers save over $500 a year in fuel costs due to the reduced number of cars on the road.

It would take another 27 lanes on our expressways to accommodate drivers if Metra stopped running, and the environmental savings are enormous (it saves 900,000 car fill-ups daily in northeastern Illinois).

Where transit goes, the economy and community grows.

Kirk Dillard, chairman, Regional Transportation Authority

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Kadner’s right on Cook County Dems

Another excellent column on Wednesday by Phil Kadner, who articulated the feelings of many tax-paying Cook County residents regarding the slating of current office holder Kim Foxx as the Democrat candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney.

As Kadner reminds us, a grand jury indicted actor Jussie Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. The city also filed suit to recover $130,000 in police overtime (taxpayer dollars at work) during the investigation of an alleged assault claimed by Smollett at 2 a.m. outside his building “on one of the coldest days of January.”

In spite of the fact that “she took a call from a relative of Smollett,” Foxx went on to “dismiss all charges against Smollett and let him go”— despite “no admission of guilt. No apology demanded.”

Kadner wonders about slating someone who has indicated that “someone who falsely reports a crime, embarrasses the entire city and wastes police time is no longer...worthy of punishment.”

He is concerned that the Cook County Democratic Organization apparently agrees with her questionable stance on Smollett. “Foxx is their candidate,” he warns. “There is no better symbol for the Democratic Party of Cook County.”

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

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