The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Pace, and Amtrak are joining with other mass transit districts across Illinois for a Get on Board Day event on April 25 at Chicago’s Union Station. Part of a month-long awareness campaign starting today, the event will bring transportation agencies and advocates from across the state together to emphasize the need for adequate, consistent, long-term funding of Illinois public transit systems.
The campaign will encourage riders to contact state representatives and senators to urge their support for a capital bill that should specifically address years of chronic underinvestment in public transportation. The effort includes advertisements on billboards, at transit locations and on vehicles, and online. The ads direct riders and residents to GetonBoardIL.org, where they can easily send emails and tweets to the appropriate elected officials.
“Years of inadequate funding have resulted in transit service that is slower, more crowded, and prone to breakdowns, all of which negatively impact riders and our economy,” said Leanne Redden, RTA executive director.
In northeast Illinois, the regional transit system now has $30 billion of unmet high-priority projects, and more than a decade has passed since the State of Illinois last funded a capital bill. The RTA’s Regional Transit Strategic Plan, Invest in Transit, sets clear priorities for public transportation across Chicago and the region, calling for annual investment of $2 to $3 billion over the next decade.
The Illinois campaign is part of National Get on Board Day, sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, which encourages people to support public transportation by showcasing its benefits to communities and the economy. Each weekday in the U.S., 34 million people board public transportation.