Press Release November 5, 2013
Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders
Charles Paidock, Secretary(312) 714-7790 email@example.com Kevin Peterson(773) 896-8126 firstname.lastname@example.org Donald Richie(731) 659-1884 email@example.com
One (1) Pubic Hearing Scheduled for All 500,000+ Passengers
Np Public Recommendations or Changes Will be Incorporated into the Budget
RTA Schedules Public Hearings on Mystery Budget
Transit Group Says CTA Avoiding Public Hearing
Citizens Taking Action, a public transit advocacy organization, is contacting city, state and federal officials voicing concerns over the schedule of budget hearings that will determine projects and service changes by the RTA and the 3 service boards (Metra, Pace, CTA) for the coming three (3) years.
CTA, for example, is holding only one (1) public hearing for all 500,000 plus passengers on Tuesday evening, November 12, and is scheduled to vote on its approval of the budget the following morning, on November 13. Sometime later on that same day the budget will be submitted to RTA.
The RTA, which is supposed to produce per the RTA Act a consolidated regional budget, has scheduled budget hearings to take place before CTA, and Metra as well. In addition, no RTA budget was posted and made available for public review. The transit group says they have absolutely nothing in hand in order to make a comment about at a public hearing. When contacted, a RTA spokesperson said materials will be provided at the meeting, and promised to post it later on its website.
The statue requires that documents be available for public inspection 21 days prior to the public hearing.
Charles Paidock, Secretary, said: “We secure copies and review the budgets in advance very carefully. We get more information if necessary, and then submit our recommendations both orally and in writing. There’s no way CTA is going to incorporate any changes in the middle of the night to the budget. There just isn’t time for them to seriously address public concerns. That’s an inherent problem with the Chairman, President, and Board in charge of CTA. They simply don’t listen, and dismiss passenger concerns as just so much noise. The budgets of the services can be a book of over a hundred pages of charts, graphs, and figures, and there’s no way one can review this in any meaningful way on the spot.”
Mr. Paidock added: “I asked to speak once to the full RTA Board at a monthly meeting on the issue of public hearings. We would go to public hearings, and not even one (1) board member would be there. You would end up talking with someone on the staff at most, and not anyone in a decision making capacity. It’s honestly not a complicated process, and this is perhaps indicative of dysfunction at the top. There’s one CTA Board member we know who usually only stays for a little while, and then just gets up and goes.”