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Press Release
December 21, 2012
Citizens Taking Action for advancement of transportation
For Information:
Charles Paidock, Secretary, (312) 353-0830, (312) 714-7790 cell
Kevin Peterson (773) 896-8126

Opposed to the Sale or Lease of Any Transportation Infrastructure

Group Says Passengers Will Pay the Price
For Midway Privatization

Members of Citizens Taking Action, anr organization of comprised of pubic transportation advocates, voices concern and opposition to the announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to explore the possibility of privatizing Midway Airport.  The group has affiliated with Privatization Watch: Illinois, based upon what it has learned happened in other countries and cities when transportation is turned over to private companies for operation.  There was an effort made by the group a few years ago to extend the hour of operation of the CTA Orange L Line, which goes to Midway Airport, in order to better accommodate the traveling public who might leave early or arrive late.  It has discovered some very disastrous and costly results of public-private partnerships (PPP) tried elsewhere, or a decision by government to turn over control of transportation to private companies.  Some of the companies are purely financial in nature, have no experience in operating a transportation element, and are only interested in making profits.

Charles Paidock, Secretary, stated:  “Transportation, whatever the mode, is becoming a central aspect of our lives, whether one’s travel is for corporate reasons or for pleasure.  In Chicago you only have two (2) choices when it comes to air travel, and you’re going to turn over control of this for decades?  Each of those travelers is a steady revenue steam for that company that gets the deal, and those travelers are going to pay the price in a multitude of ways, from parking to fees tacked onto ticket prices.  And the passenger has no other choice than to take it or leave it.”

Mr. Paidock added:  “In other places there are infrastructure arrangements, however, the term are for much less periods of time.  In France the government owns and maintains the rails, but leases the routes out to private companies who bid to operate the trains for ten (10) years.  Remember, once you’re locked into one of the deals, it’s almost impossible to get out.  And there are always so-called unforeseen conditions which come up that results in more money for the company, and never the municipality, or public.”

The group is also skeptical about the Mayor promise of a “travelers’ bill of rights.”  Kevin Peterson remarked that: “We all saw the Mayor’s attitude in his declaration concerning an increase in transit fares.  He said flat out that if CTA passengers didn’t like his decision, then they should all go out, buy a car, and drive.  He didn’t seen too concerned then about our rights to decent service at an affordable price, or what the public’s needs might be.  And now he’s getting into air travel?”

In addition, there is concern since according to the Chicago Tribune, “Few details were provided about how privatization would affect travelers and Midway employees.  Emanuel said specifics will emerge over time.”  The group maintains that an inherent problem with any PPP is that specific details emerge only after the contracts have been signed.  It may be sold at first only as a lease on concession stands, and sooner or later the whole operation is taken over by firms with no interest in providing transportation.  The group fears the PPP arrangement is a model that will be expanded to include other modes, such as public transit.”

Mayor Promises a
"Traveler's Bill of RIghts"