To the Editor:
The McHenry County 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan Draft says an estimated 4,910 McHenry County residents use Metra daily to travel to Chicago – 1.59 percent of the county’s population.
With about $10.945 million in RTA sales-tax revenues coming from McHenry County in 2012 for Metra, residents are paying $2,230 in subsidies per Metra passenger. This number only includes the operating expenses for Metra. It does not include the estimated $21 million per year required for capital investments for new transit. Pace budget and cost recovery ratios are exceedingly grim.
As Illinois loses more businesses and jobs because of high taxes, an unfriendly business climate, and $100 billion pension deficit, revenue receipts to the state will decrease.
Revenue opportunities from the state and matching funds from federal grants for the RTA also will diminish. New funding opportunities from the federal government also have been found to be temporary or intermittent.
I see an urgent need to focus and push the RTA to establish increasingly progressive recovery ratios for Metra, CTA and Pace that will gradually place the agencies on a path to greater sustainability. McHenry County needs to explore innovative ways to enhance transportation in McHenry County via free-market opportunities and strategies in an effort to expand private business and create jobs in the county.
The board also needs to scrutinize the status quo, knowing that 308,000-plus residents rely on board members to question political policy and practices, minimize tax increases and eliminate waste.