Budgeted for highways and transit in the stimulus bill:
‚Ä¢ $27.5 billion: US highways
‚Ä¢ $8 billion: high speed transit
‚Ä¢ $6.8 billion: city transit (source: prorebulica.org)
I’d rather see the highway and transit numbers flipped. We don’t need more roads and highways. We need more trains and buses.
Just how far can $6.8 billion go for city transit?
Let’s take a look at the 2009 Chicago Transit Authority Budget Recommendations:
‚Ä¢¬†$723 million/year: operating budget from public funding
‚Ä¢¬†$600 milliion/year: capital improvement program
‚Ä¢¬†$1.36 billion/year: unfunded capital improvements that are needed.
That’s about $2.7 billion/year to run a public transit system in Chicago (both operations and capital funding).
Obama’s stimulus package calls for $6.8 billion for the whole country. THE WHOLE COUNTRY. That’s 50 states. How much would Illinois get? If it’s divided evenly amoung the states, Illinois accounts for about 4% of the USA population. That’s $272 million from the stimulus to be for Illinois’ transit.
Illinois’ share stimulus’ budget for transit would only cover 14% of ONE YEAR for CTA’s capital improvements. I wish they put more money in the stimulus for city transit. Everyone could use it. Just wait when gas prices go back up again.