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Monday, November 7, 2022

Commentary: Red Line extension needlessly caught in the switches due to CTA/City Council beef

From Lee Bey at the Chicago Sun-Times:
The planned $950 million Red Line transit tax increment finance district, proposed by Cox’s department, would help fund the extension with tax revenue increases captured from properties near the Red Line between Madison Street and Pershing Road.

The CTA needs the funding to get the feds to kick-in the remaining money to build the project.

And to get the federal cash, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants the City Council to approve the Red Line transit TIF before Dec. 31.

But what about the CTA’s crime and service problems?

Speaking about the Red Line transit TIF, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) — one of the alderpersons balking over the funding request — told his City Council budget committee colleagues last month that “rewarding poor stewardship with a billion-dollar investment is difficult to rationalize.”


But the City Council didn’t dare use that spike in crime to ponder holding up the $622 million transit TIF that helped the city get federal funds for the North Side’s $1.1 billion Red and Purple line rebuild.

Instead, they passed the measure 48-0 in November 2016 with nary a word about CTA crime or Carter’s City Council attendance.

“I’m not doing anything differently now than I was then,” Carter said last month.

The South Side deserves the same response.

And sure, Carter hasn’t helped his cause by snubbing the City Council. Catching flak in public from alderpersons is the cost of doing business for a public official, especially one who’s paid $350,000 a year.

But perhaps change is afoot. Last week, Carter wrote aldermen, promising to attend a City Council transportation committee hearing next Thursday.

Carter should show and take the aldermanic lumps that are likely to come.

I look forward to the future Red Line extension and hope that Carter appears before the Chicago City Council (we need to get rid of that Alderpersons business seriously, lets give them a new name like "coucilmembers"). 

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