Members of the Metropolitan Mayors and Managers Caucus heard this week from Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Executive Director Joseph Costello about the critical need for further capital investment in the region’s bus and rail systems.
“Our public transit system assets are old and getting older,” said Costello, RTA Executive Director. “We need an updated funding mechanism from Congress to invest in transit and get our systems to a state of good repair. Without increased capital funding, transit systems across the nation will face increasing challenges in providing the fast, frequent and reliable trips that riders need.”
“Congress’ recent transportation bill was a necessary first step in tackling our country’s transportation infrastructure challenges,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “But there is a backlog of needed transit asset repairs and replacements that totals $24.6 billion in our region alone. Increasing investment in transportation infrastructure will help our economy recover and ensure the future of the transit system that so many of my constituents rely on.”
“Mr. Costello made a very compelling case for maintaining our system’s assets. Public transportation isn’t just about bus and train riders, but all of us,” said Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett. “Without a strong transit system, roadway congestion and pollution increase, and employers are less likely to locate in our region. If we don’t keep our transit systems in good working order, the region’s economy and health will suffer.”
Because existing federal funding from the Highway Trust Fund is insufficient to maintain and replace Chicagoland’s aging trains, buses, bridges and stations, they are being utilized beyond their “useful lives.” This results in slower, less comfortable and less reliable service. The RTA has initiated the Getting America to WorkCampaign to educate the public about this critical need and advocate for increased federal investments in public transit to support riders and the region’s economy.