Check out this discussion at Capitol Fax (with a new, very cool look -- nice job Rich) on the CTA deciding that they didn't want to comply with a state audit (!!!) after the state ponied up $54 million or so. Rep. John Fritchey, one of the state's 'most substantive legislators, filed a resolution (read it here) directing the Auditor General to audit the CTA after the CTA basically lied to all the North Side electeds about keeping all Brown Line stations open during reconstruction (they won't stay open). And when the CTA bureaucrats pushed back, Speaker Madigan announced that he'll be sponsoring legislation to divert the CTA money to pay for the audit. And that would be enough to get the CTA to back down.
What is up with Frank Kruesi? I guess when you've got the moxie to kill an airport -- an airport! -- under cover of darkness just because you think it's the right thing to do, you resist the idea of an audit checking up on your decisions. But guess what? Too freakin bad.
The reality is that we're going to have to convince a skeptical public to accept a higher tax or fee in the next 6-18 months (the sooner the better) to pay for the state's matching funds in order to get at all those billions of projects that Congress just passed. If we don't raise a tax or fee, we don't get the federal dollars. And if the CTA acts like an arrogant, out-of-touch agency, then Joe Naperville likely doesn't want to pay an extra penny per gallon gasoline tax in order to finance all these projects because some small fraction of it is going to 'those wasteful Chicago hacks.' And that poisons the whole region.
We can't tolerate this kind of B.S. It's hard to raise revenues, and resistance to state audits from Chicago governments makes it much, much harder.
I think this is the time for Chicago legislators to come down hard on the CTA and push for structural improvements in transparency and efficiency. Because if the Chicago legislators can't convince their colleagues in the General Assembly that *they* are ensuring there will not be waste in the CTA, who will?