Friday, May 07, 2004

Lobbying the legislature -- more news from Illinois

I picked up one a new client for my new profession as a registered lobbyist in Illinois -- the Midwest High Speed Rail Association (with a very clever URL: This is a great gig: we're trying to help modernize Illinois rail, and the next step is to increase the frequencies of the St. Louis-Springfield-Bloomington-Normal-Chicago corridor. Currently there are three daily round trips. That's not enough. We want to get that up to five.

After seeking advice from the legislators along the line over how to get two more round-trips (that is, how to get more state funding for more routes), I learned that a letter from legislators to the leaders asking for an increased appropriation is the way to get the issue on the agenda. So that's what we're going to do. Picking up the protocol over how a group of men and women decide how to run the government is endlessly fascinating.

In other good transit-related developments, Representative Julie Hamos' legislation to establish a universal fare card (so that if you transfer between Metra and CTA you don't need to carry two different cards) unanimously cleared the state Senate this week. There were two amendments which watered the bill down a bit (most notably delaying implemention until state or Federal funds pay for the universal fare card), but this is progress. The bill is HB 4098 and you can read it here.

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