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Transit Slouches Toward Doomsday

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The Chicago region’s public transportation system took another step toward doomsday this morning. Chicago Public Radio’s Gabriel Spitzer has the story.

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Transit officials passed a budget today that they themselves called “devastating.”

The Regional Transportation Authority Board approved contingency plans from its three service boards – the CTA, Metra and Pace. The doomsday budget would slash service, hike fares and put off badly-needed investment in new equipment.

The plans will go into effect if the Illinois legislature doesn’t approve hundreds of millions in new funding.

Chairman Jim Reilly says if there was any doubt that the worst-case scenario is looming, it ought to be erased by now.

REILLY: We are prepared to take dramatic steps if funding is not identified. The steps reported today are not threats, and they do not constitute a negotiating tactic.

Still, Reilly says he is heartened by the renewed interest Governor Rod Blagojevich has shown in transit funding.

His message for the governor: “Welcome to the dialog.”

I’m Gabriel Spitzer, Chicago Public Radio.

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