The future of the CTA - according to Mayor-elect Emanuel

April 20, 2011

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(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
Chicago Transit Board Chair Terry Peterson (left) and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel at a news conference Tuesday.

Forrest Claypool has been picked to head the Chicago Transit Authority by the city's next mayor.

Agenda item number one for the CTA, according to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, is the agency's budget. He's pledging not to raise fares. The contract of a big union representing CTA workers will be re-negotiated this year.

Claypool wouldn't discuss where those negotiations will be going, but he said money is an issue.

"Obviously significant financial problems at CTA, but that's part of the discussions and negotiations," Claypool said Tuesday.

Steven Schlickman heads the Urban Transportation Center at the University of of Illinois at Chicago. He said when the CTA cut service in 2008, ridership and revenue stayed about the same.

"With an economic recovery, will come new revenues and - both on taxes and on fares, so we gotta be mindful that economic recovery will help CTA and everyone else," Schlickman said.

Emanuel also re-emphasized his hopes to rehab and expand the Red Line, which he calls the backbone of the CTA.

Emanuel announced Claypool will replace Richard Rodriguez as the head of the CTA. Emanuel left the door open for Rodriguez to possibly serve in a different part of his administration.

Claypool is a former Cook County commissioner who ran a failed campaign for county assessor in 2010. He also ran the Chicago Park District.

Emanuel also named Terry Peterson to continue serving as the Chicago Transit Board Chair. Peterson has been in that position since 2009.

Emanuel is also picking Gabe Klein to run the Chicago Department of Transportation. Klein was the Director of the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. Klein needs approval from Chicago’s City Council before he can be seated.