Chicagoans: This city will get it from now on
Chicagoans have been living with the fact that the city’s transit system is broken for decades.
A major study commissioned by the city last year estimated that Chicago will pay out $3 billion to the tune of $7 billion over the next 25 years to fix the system, but that’s only a fraction of what it will take to get people on and off the streets.
“We have no idea how long it will cost us to fix this problem,” said Janna Niehoff, who directs the Chicago Transit Bureau, at a recent media briefing on the issue.
The report, released this week by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration, says that Chicago’s system is now in need of about $6.4 billion in fixes.
That’s more than three times what was estimated for the entire system in 2016.
It’s unclear how many people would need to move out of the city for a fixed system, and even if the city does have a fixed plan, how much of the cost would be borne by the public.
A number of factors could affect how much people would pay to move, including the cost of moving, which could be higher than the amount of money already spent on the system.
Chicago’s population, for instance, has grown by more than 13,000 people since 2010, which means it now has about the same number of people living in the city as before the Great Recession.
If the city can’t find ways to attract new residents and businesses, the new residents would be able to afford the costs, said Niehardt.
“It’s not going to be like the 1970s,” she said.
“You’re not going do that.”
But for many Chicagoans, the city could do without more bus and subway service.
Niehart said that, given the city has a backlog of repairs, the only way to get it done is to increase the number of bus routes.
For the first time in decades, Chicago will start running more buses and running more service on the city bus network.
But the transit agency expects that by 2040, it will have to expand its network to include additional bus routes, too.
It is currently planning to expand service by more then 400 miles on existing routes, but the plan would need significant expansion to ensure it can cover the increased ridership demand.
That means a major redesign of the system’s route map, including adding more bus routes and increasing the number and length of buses.
“When you do that, you’re going to have to look at all the routes you need to add to get more capacity, and you’re not doing that with the bus,” Niehorn said.
The city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, said in his State of the City address last week that the current system is a “tough and dangerous situation” that needs to change.
The mayor also acknowledged that the lack of a new transit system in the past few years has hurt the city and hurt its image, but he said it’s not a solution to the problem.
“I have to be realistic about this.
This isn’t a problem that can be solved overnight.
It will take some time,” Emanuel said.
Chicago also faces the prospect of a major lawsuit if the federal government doesn’t fix the problems within its jurisdiction, including a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city.
“The federal government is responsible for the quality of the transit system, not Chicago,” Niedhoff said.
Emanuel also promised to hire more transit officials and improve the citys transit network in the wake of the report.
Chicago has had to rely on private companies to operate the system for years because of budget cuts and budget uncertainty.
It hasn’t been able to replace the money spent on bus service, which is what was required under federal law when the FTA began its review of the Chicago system in 2000.
“What’s most critical is that we find a way to do it with the best of intentions,” Emanuel told reporters after the report was released.
“But the federal transit agency has to be able, with a new president, to do a better job than they did under the previous administration.”