ACTION ALERT: Urge your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward!

Riders for Better Transit is holding a press conference and Day of Action today to introduce Transit Fast Forward -- state legislation that would improve and expand train and bus service in Chicagoland through better investment. This is an exciting step forward for our movement!

TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward today!

If Chicagoland wants to compete as a world-class region, then we need to invest in a 21st Century transit system to keep our economy moving and improve our quality of life. Our public transportation system should be moving forward, not backward!

Transit Fast Forward (SB 3236) would provide a new, dedicated source of funding for transit that will grow over time. It would generate an estimated $11.6 million in 2013, and a projected $168 million over the first five years. It indexes the state gas tax with inflation, a move that will dedicate an additional fraction of a penny per gallon to public transportation. The end result will be better commutes for drivers and transit riders alike.

New transit revenue could help build new stations, expand routes and service times, bring back express buses and eliminate slow zones. It could help prevent future service cuts and fare increases.

Today is also our first Transit Day of Action, with volunteers from Riders for Better Transit blanketing train stations across the Loop during the morning rush hour to spread the word about Transit Fast Forward. Please join our Day of Action by contacting your state legislators!

TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward today!

I received a flyer for this

I received a flyer for this on my way up the Cumberland blue line stop. Now that I read about it I think: the transit system already has a dedicated source of income: the ride fare. Why not tax the fares and index that with inflation? It's not right to hit people in Rockford for your train rides. One might say "But it's only a small amount --don't be so stingy.", but that door swings even farther the other way --if it's 'such a small amount' then why would transit riders have a problem footing the bill for their own rides? I suppose it would be more fair if the funds could also be used by other communities than Chicagoland. If that were the case I might be able to stand behind this movement.

Matthew -- Thanks for taking

Matthew -- Thanks for taking the time to learn more and share your feedback about Transit Fast Forward.

First, just to clarify, this bill would not affect Rockford. It would only index the motor fuel tax to inflation in the counties served by CTA, Metra and Pace (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will). The motor fuel tax would remain exactly the same in the rest of the state, including Winnebago county.

The reasoning behind using the motor fuel tax is that all of our transportation systems -- whether public transit or highways -- are interconnected. Everyone benefits from a strong public transit system, including drivers. The Chicago region has some of the worst congestion in the country. Imagine what our commutes would be like if all of the transit riders started driving, and how much would it cost to build the roads to accommodate so many cars? Metra carries approximately 50% of the trips to downtown in each of the major expressway corridors; without Metra, 29 lanes of expressway would need to be built. The CTA’s Red Line provides more trips per weekday than Lake Shore Drive does. The only real solution to improving mobility in our region is a more complete transportation system with more and better options.

Similar to public transit, roads and highways also depend on public funding since the motor fuel tax doesn't cover the full cost of building and operating our roads. Tax-paying transit riders also help pay for roads. We need to invest in a complete transportation system, yet transit has been left out in the cold. The gax tax has fallen way behind -- it hasn’t been raised in 22 years, while the CTA train fare has increased 80% in that same time. Transit service has been slashed across the system, but when was the last time you heard IDOT even mention closing a freeway? In the last two years alone, CTA riders have seen bus service cut by 18% and train service cut 9%, while Metra riders have had their fares raised 25-30%.

It's time for the Chicago region to start investing in a complete transportation system.

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