June 18, 2024

Eye On Illinois: Readers weigh in on taxing bodies, transit agency consolidation

As we bear down on the last scheduled week of the General Assembly’s spring session – with a reminder the early deadline is self-imposed and yet still highly likely to feature late nights and “last-minute” maneuvering – it’s time for readers to opine on earlier topics:

D.H.: “I received my property tax bill from Ogle County today and could not help but think of the reply from Bob Anderson that you shared in your May 9 column. I counted 19 unique taxing bodies on the bill for the property I own in Oregon. Nineteen!!!! And the school district is unified! WOW!”

C.E., regarding a May 1 column on the future of regional transportation agencies:

“There might well be a lot of merit in having a single statewide transit agency – but only if it is done well, and there is a lot of opportunity to do it badly. In particular, I believe that it must be freestanding away from [Illinois Department of Transportation]. IDOT in my view does roads and bridges pretty well, but every other mode [is] mostly ignored, and handled pretty badly when addressed. Not really their fault, but since all the top people are road and bridge planners and engineers, it would be hard for it to be otherwise.

“Having said the foregoing, the present leading legislative initiative is a pretty bald attempt on the part of the city and CTA to saddle the suburbs with CTA’s massive debt [and in my view equally massive failures] without any control, benefit, or recourse going forward. Throughout the life of RTA, CTA has been wasteful, and usually badly run, while Metra and Pace have done a pretty good job, with the pittances they were allocated. CTA has also been arrogant and anything but collegial with its sister agencies and everybody outside the City. RTA was created to let the collar counties pay for CTA’s sins, and instead of cleaning up its act, it has kept on sinning.

“I am wholly in favor of a robust regional and statewide transit program, and I think that it will be even more important going forward. And CTA is going to be by far the biggest single piece of that. But it will only solve the problem for Illinois if it cleans up its act, and so far I do not see a shred of evidence that the city, Cook County or CTA have any desire to move even slightly in that direction. I have been watching this space since CTA defaulted on its bonds in the ‘50s [not for the first time], and the history has been bad conduct and looking for someone else to bail them out.”

Thanks to everyone for reading and reacting.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Local News Network. Follow him on X @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.