The Chicago Transit Authority was out Wednesday with good news for commuters: there won't be service cuts or fare hikes this year after all.
The agency said it came up with enough savings and increased revenue to plug an $80 million budget hole.
The news makes good on the proposal put forth last October by CTA President Forrest Claypool.
Helping matters is an increase in ridership and additional funds given to the agency by the Regional Transportation Authority from higher than anticipated sales tax revenue.
Claypool called these "one-time savings" that will not be available in 2013. Now it’s necessary to complete negotiations with the CTA’s labor unions, he said.
"We bought ourselves some time,” Claypool said. "(But) all the tricks in the trick bag are gone."
The current transit union contract is running on borrowed time. It expired last December but has been extended until a new deal is worked out.