Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool proposed a balanced $1.38 billion budget that maintains transit service and holds the line on customer fares, while continuing unprecedented investment in projects and programs to improve service and modernize regional transit.
The budget reflects the positive impacts of operational efficiency reforms by CTA management to reduce wasteful spending and manage day-to-day operations more efficiently. The budget also includes the 1,000 customer-facing jobs the CTA created in 2013 to better serve passengers.
The agency in 2014 will continue its ambitious $4 billion capital investment plan begun in 2011, including rehabilitating rail stations, modernizing rail and bus fleets, and bringing the agency’s massive infrastructure into a state of good repair to improve reliability and safety.
“The CTA has operated efficiently and responsibly with three straight years of balanced budgets after inheriting a $308 million deficit in 2011,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We’ve done so through rigorous management reforms that have reduced waste and trimmed spending, while upholding service and fare levels for our customers and creating permanent jobs that better serve passengers. Our new collective bargaining agreement with CTA labor unions has also contributed significantly to the financial turnaround, allowing us to reduce costs while also adding good service-providing jobs for union members.”
The CTA continues its strong financial performance despite the negative effects of state budget cuts and higher unfunded state mandates for everything from health care and pension costs to free and discounted rides.
The budget reflects management reforms previously put into place, including modernizing supply chain operations to better track purchases and inventory and achieve lowest-cost pricing. It also includes progress in lowering absenteeism, which has declined in 2012 and 2013 and is estimated to save the agency $10 million a year.