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Toni Preckwinkle Wants to Cut Cook County's CTA Funding

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Nov 13, 2011 7:00PM

2011_11_13_toni.jpg Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is unhappy with the city of Chicago and the CTA, so she is taking matters into her own hands. Preckwinkle wants to slash the amount of financial support Cook County gives to the CTA (we're looking at going from $1.3 million to just $675,000 per year) and have the city make up for the difference.

Of course, this probably won't sit well with Mayor Rahm Emanuel or CTA president Forrest Claypool. However, Preckwinkle remains vigilant and believes the burden is upon the city, not the whole county:

“I think there’s a possibility for the city to up its commitment,” Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman, told the Sun-Times on Friday. “When I was a member of the City Council, I consistently argued that the city needed to contribute more to CTA on an annual basis — and city riders are the principal users of CTA.”

For Preckwinkle, one point she pushes is that CTA riders are mostly from the city, not the suburbs. Because the source of CTA ridership is concentrated in the city, Preckwinkle believes that Cook County devotes too much of its budget to the needs of the city. Amidst talks of an impending fare hike, Preckwinkle's reprimand comes at a pretty rough time for the CTA. Preckwinkle and other Cook County board members say that the board is not required to financially support the CTA by law, but there is no doubt that such a decrease in funding would hurt the CTA, as the CTA would also have to face decreased funding from the Regional Transportation Agency.