No Fare Hikes, Service Cuts in CTA Budget: Claypool

The budget will rely on deep management cuts and work-rule changes from labor unions.

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    CTA riders can breathe a sigh of relief. The agency's 2012 budget proposal spares them from fare hikes and service cuts.

    "I cannot ask our riders to walk farther and pay more until we have gone to our labor partners and ask for reforms," said CTA president Forrest Claypool.

    Claypool said the budget, which came in at 5 percent less than last year, instead will rely on deep management cuts and work-rule changes from labor unions.

    CTA Facing $277M Deficit in 2012: Claypool

    [CHI] CTA Facing $277M Deficit in 2012: Claypool
    Oct. 4, 2011: Chicago Transit Authority president says "arcane" work rules and "unrestrained wage and benefit growth" have added to authority's budget problems.

    Clayool also warned up to 1,000 CTA workers would be laid off if no labor concessions were made. Absenteeism is still a huge issue, he said.

    But Local 308 president Robert Kelly called the move union busting. Kelly said the CTA took its case to the riders to get them mad at the unions.

    Claypool Details CTA Deficit

    [CHI] Claypool Details CTA Deficit
    Oct. 4, 2011: CTA president Forrest Claypool outlines the CTA's fiscal state. He said the agency borrowed $554 million in the past four years, despite a fare hike in 2009 and cuts in 2010.

    "My job is not to balance the CTA budget," he said, adding "I don't believe their rate for absenteeism at all."

    Claypool said Mayor Rahm Emanuel told him to "do the right thing" and said he's taking Emanuel's lead on a leaner operation with less bureaucracy. 

    But Kelly believes in the end there will be a fare hike and thinks CTA leaders are making false promises.

    Claypool warned earlier this month that hard decisions would be on the horizon to fix the system's fiscal situation. He said the agency borrowed $554 million in the past four years, despite raised fares in 2009 and service cuts last year.

    "We can’t defer the hard decisions any longer," Claypool said.