Ticking Transit Bomb

The Transit Riders’ Alliance issued another “Action Alert” today urging its supporters to contact their state legislators and express their, um, displeasure at the governor and his budget cuts.

“Despite the urgent need to expand transit, Governor Blagojevich line-item vetoed funding for reduced student and ADA fares and the seniors-ride-free program he created in January. (The agencies still have to provide the reduced and free rides, so these cuts will impact the overall operating budget. Amtrak funding did not get cut.)

“The House is scheduled to meet again this week to deal with the line-item vetoes, but the Senate is unlikely to meet before November.

Please click here to tell your senator and representative to expand transit, not cut it. We need to expand transit now.”

Previously, the alliance sent out this alert:

“On Tuesday, Governor Blagojevich shockingly threatened to eliminate two programs that matter to transit riders across Illinois. One program in danger helps fund free rides for seniors and reduced fares for students and people with disabilities-it would be completely eliminated.

“The other elimination is the Amtrak Illinois program, which funds service between 28 cities and towns across the state. This program was doubled in 2006 and has far surpassed all expectations. Trains are frequently sold out.

“The Governor’s outline of the threatened cuts states that since 2007 Amtrak Illinois ridership has increased ‘from 42% to 67%, depending upon the line.’ To understand how small the existing program is, consider that IDOT recently received a special appropriation for road kill cleanup that was roughly twice the annual Amtrak appropriation. As it stands, these intercity services need to grow. It is outrageous that the Governor is threatening to cut them.

“The threatened cuts are part of a bigger fight over the budget.It is hard to believe that the governor would cut transit funding and eliminate Amtrak Illinois services as gas prices march towards $5.00/gal, but it’s what’s on the table right now!

Click here to tell Governor Blagojevich that transit should not be on the chopping block and that we should be expanding our transit network and services across Illinois.”

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