RTA details transit cut

The Regional Transportation Authority reported that the fiscal year 2016 budget proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner would amount to a loss of $169.5 million in the operating budgets of the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Pace and the federally mandated Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit service.

The cuts include a $130 million or 45 percent decrease in CTA funding, a $20.8 million or 60 percent decrease in Metra funding, a $10 million or 41 percent decrease in Pace funding and an $8.5 million or 15 percent decrease in paratransit funding.

"Should these cuts be enacted, it would be difficult to avoid service cuts and fare hikes for CTA, Metra and Pace customers," RTA executive director Leanne Redden said in a statement. "In a time when our regional system provides two million passenger trips each work day, these cuts could ultimately result in hundreds of thousands of drivers returning to our already heavily congested road and highway system and impact vital connections to jobs and education throughout the region."

The RTA said that the cuts would reduce the amount that the state matches on regional sales tax revenues by one-third, which is a $127 million cut from the $380 million that the state had budgeted for 2016, eliminate $34 million that would be used for administering the free ride and reduced-fare programs, which is an annual regional cost of $130 million, and eliminate $8.5 million that would be used for operating the paratransit service.