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Transit Elbows For Seat At The Table

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Chicago-area transit boosters say a key vote last week sets the stage for a state bailout. Chicago Public Radio’s Gabriel Spitzer reports.

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Steve Schlickman says transit advocates are going into this month’s legislative overtime with the wind at their backs.

Schlickman heads up the Regional Transportation Authority. Last week the RTA’s plan to raise revenue passed the House Mass Transit Committee with bipartisan support.

SCHLICKMAN: I think our needs are resonating. And I think the big momentum that comes out of the action in the House Mass Transit Committee I think is going to start translating into further support when it gets to the floor, and then over to the senate.

It’s unclear though whether the funding bill could survive a full House vote, let alone win Senate approval.

It would effectively triple the transportation sales tax in the collar counties. Chicago’s RTA sales tax would increase from one to one-and-a-quarter percent.

The bill is paired with RTA reform legislation. It does not address mass transit’s capital investment needs.

I’m Gabriel Spitzer, Chicago Public Radio.

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