Illinois Panel finalizes recommendations to overhaul regional rail transit


A task force formed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to examine transit service in the Chicago area has concluded that the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) should be abolished and Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace be consolidated under a single “integrated” board with three operating units, according to a report submitted to the governor yesterday.

The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force unanimously adopted the report and recommendations. The panel recommends that a new oversight board be established that would set policies and prioritize transit investments.

In addition, the panel calls for new governance rules, new sources of revenue to help support transit and new performance-based management practices for transit service.

Quinn appointed the task force in August 2013 in the wake of a patronage scandal involving Metra’s board. His executive order called on task force members to make recommendations on ways the region’s transit agencies “can improve their operations, repair the damage done to the public trust and modernize the transit system” for the communities that depend on it.

“If the Chicago region is to be globally competitive it must have a globally competitive transit system,” states the task force’s letter to Quinn. “Currently, we do not. These recommendations will position us to achieve that result.”

In addition to Quinn, the report was sent to the Illinois General Assembly, which would need to change state law in order to alter or abolish the RTA.

The task force’s recommendations can be read here.