CTA Rides Cost Taxpayers $6-$9 Per Rider
Above is the headline from the Tribune. My headline is the taxpayer cost to subsidize the CTA riders. While there is a regional taxing authority for the CTA, that money doesn't just come from there. As we've seen repeatedly over the last few years, Springfield is kicking more and more money each year into the CTA coffers to keep drastic route cuts and fare increases from happening.
That means if you live downstate and the state highway in your area is full of potholes, it's possible the money to fix it is instead being used to subsidize the CTA service.
Where does all the money to CTA go? According to the Tribune article and CTA 65% goes to wages. The white collar workers at CTA are getting ready for their fourth consectutive year without a pay raise, and will get 18 unpaid furlough days this year; again. The union workers on the other hand gets 3-4% per year in raises, and refuses any furlough days.
In fairness, the union workers in their last contract did have to increase their own pension contributions and insurance payments. My guess is it comes no where close to what their white collar co-workers are enduring. It should.
If the union cries poverty, please laugh heartily at them. The average wage for a bus driver come out to $57,000 a year before benefits, $55,000 for a train operator, don't forget, it goes up next year by 3.5 percent.
Governor Quinn just got CTA enough cash to forestall some serious fare hikes over the next couple of years, but not enough to stop the service cuts planned for January. Maybe some layoffs are necessary for the CTA's union members to realize that they are part of the problem and need to help with the solution.