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Category Archives: Transit Justice
Chicago – After 2 months of public comment and letters falling on deaf ears, a group of young women from Little Village broke through to CTA about the need for a 31st Street Bus. Organizers with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and Young Activists Organizing as Today’s Leaders (YAOTL) were present at the August Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Board Meeting to show the need for a new bus route in their community.
Selene, a McKinley Park resident who works in Little Village spoke about her commute and the benefits of a 31st Street Bus. “I do not consider myself to be middle class, because I have to work 2 or more jobs. I ride a bike, because it is good for the environment,” she told the Board “But when my bike breaks, or the weather is very bad, it is very inconvenient.” She recounted having to make 2-3 time-consuming transfers by bus when a 31st Street bus could take her directly to her destination. “Right now, I’m pissed,” She told the Board.
During her speech, 4 YAOTL members stood from their seats to show their presence. After months of ignoring public comment and written letters from Alderman George Cardenas and Ricardo Munoz, Chairman Terry Petersen agreed to have staff meet with Ms. Gonzalez.
CTA staff agreed to meet with LVEJO, the aldermen and other community members to further discuss the funding issues around the route. For 2 years the CTA has claimed it cannot match the $1,067,000 Job Access Reverse Commute it received with assistance from LVEJO. The recession has cut into sales and gas tax revenues that fund transit agencies across the country.
LVEJO has been requesting to meet with CTA to prevent grant money from being lost and to identify where a required match could be found.
For Immediate Release
Attention: News Assignment
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
CTA IGNORES 31ST STREET
Bus riders experience 13 year wait for bus to arrive.
WHAT/WHEN: Wed, Aug 10th, 2011
- 10:00 am public comment at CTA Board Meeting, 2nd Floor
- Press conference immediately following Board Meeting, outside on sidewalk.
WHERE: CTA, 567 W Lake Street.
WHO: Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and partners
Chicago – It can be a long wait to catch a CTA bus. But bus riders on 31st Street have been waiting 13 years for their bus to arrive. That’s because 31st Street has been without service since 1997. This has made it harder for residents to find safe, affordable ways to get to jobs, school and other destinations.
Money to bring back buses exists. But time to use it is running out. The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and aldermen have been urging CTA to begin the New 31st Street Bus Route. CTA currently has $5.6 million for 31st Street and 5 other routes, but has repeatedly refused to comment or reply on the project.
LVEJO sees bus investment as a way to create jobs and get people to work. “Studies show that investing $10 million in transit operations should create $30 to 60 million of economic returns”, says Mike Pitula, LVEJO transit organizer, “so this is obviously a job creator.”
But in the face of a federal deadline, CTA has stonewalled activists and local officials. Aldermen George Cardenas and Ricardo Munoz have requested meetings to discuss the project. CTA has not replied. More than 2 years after receiving Job Access Reverse Commute funds for 6 bus routes from Washington, the CTA has done nothing. It is the only transit agency in Northeast Illinois that has failed to match its money. LVEJO is concerned that CTA will lose this funding if it does not find matching funds in its $1.34 Billion budget by September 30th, 2011.
“The matching funds are less than half a percent of CTA’s budget for the year.” said Joe Trutin, a business owner along the proposed new route.
“The cost of the 31st St bus and 5 other bus routes is a great investment for Chicago’s taxpayers,” said Kim Wasserman, executive director of LVEJO. She added, “It could generate up to $67 million for jobs and sales taxes (which help fund CTA), while providing safe routes to school and a cleaner environment.”
The 31st Bus would directly connect riders from Bridgeport, Brighton Park, Bronzeville, Chinatown, Cicero, Douglas, Little Village and McKinley Park to jobs in hundreds of businesses, colleges, schools, parks, beaches, McCormick Place, the Lakefront Museums, Soldier Field, the White Sox U.S. Cellular Field and the Illinois Institute of Technology. East 83rd St. would also receive a new bus route under this program, while service hours and/or distance would be added on 4 additional routes across the city.