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Illinois Transit May Take a Hit; for Roads, It’s Business as Usual

In Illinois, as elsewhere around the country, more people are riding transit -- and, as elsewhere, transit funding is being threatened because of state money problems. Meanwhile, reports The Transport Politic, road and bridge projects are going ahead as planned:

3207252849_c9aec57cfd_m.jpgNext stop for transit in Illinois: funding delays? Photo by John Picken via Flickr.
Evidently, it’s not impressive enough to have a 9 percent increase in transit ridership over the last five years. You would think that facts like those would encourage the state to invest more in public transportation.

Rather, the Chicago Tribune reports today that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has put about $1 billion of transit projects, including $900 million in the Chicago region, on hold because of the state’s budget crisis. Transit agencies CTA, Metra, and Pace were ordered to stop committing money to new projects and even to stop planning. The funding had been announced by the governor just several weeks ago as a sort of mini-economic stimulus for the state, and it included funding for roads as well. But those highway projects have been spared, as Mr. Quinn has simply decided that only transit will suffer the consequences of the state’s financial issues.

Elsewhere around the Streetsblog Network: How We Drive has a shocking video of a Texas bus driver who has a bad wreck while texting; The Political Environment reports on how Wisconsin is funneling stimulus money to well-heeled communities at Milwaukee's expense; and St. Louis Urban Workshop asks whether luring artists to declining neighborhoods will ever amount to more than a "niche solution" for urban redevelopment.