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One CTA Station's Gain is Another's Loss

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One CTA Station's Gain is Another's Loss

Springfield legislators appear to be close to a deal that could save mass transit in the Chicago-area. House Representative Julie Hamos and Speaker Mike Madigan sent a letter today to members of the General Assembly. It says they’ll be calling a Republican-backed bill at Wednesday’s special session. It proposes using gasoline sales taxes in the Chicago-region to fund the CTA, Metra and Pace. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has said he supports that plan. Meantime, the CTA today re-opened its Montrose Stop on the Brown Line. That’s after nearly a year of renovation work at the North Side station. The news is good for commuters in the area, and also nearby business owners.

This is the Beans and Bagels coffee shop, across the street, from the Montrose Brown Line station. Over the last year, manager Susan Wingerter says they lost about fifty percent of their sales.

WINGERTER: But now that the station’s open we’ve seen people come in and say ‘Thank God the train station’s open, I can come and get my Metropolis coffee and my beans and bagels.’

Wingerter says after just one morning, she’s already noticed an improvement in business.

WINGERTER: We’ve sold out of blueberry bagels, we’ve sold out of almost sold out of plain bagels, we’re about to sell out of everything bagels.

RHEE: You seem happy about that.

WINGERTER: I am happy about that, it means we have to order more tomorrow.

A couple blocks away, it’s happening all over again. The CTA closed the Damen Brown Line stop this morning for renovation. Jae Lee owns a hot dog stand called Budacki’s Drive-In down the street, and he worries about what the change will mean.

LEE: I think it’s a crap shoot, no one know really how much it’s going to affect your business. So, it’s definitely, you know, today’s the first day and we’re a little worried, but hopefully we’ll be able to survive.

Lee says he’s already seen a drop in foot traffic, which means the next year could be a tough one for him and his neighbors.

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