July 15, 2024

Eye On Illinois: Mark your calendar for transit agency consolidation hearings

There are dates and times – but not locations – for public hearings on plans to create the Metropolitan Mobility Authority by consolidating CTA, Metra and Pace. State Sen. Ram Villivalam and state Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, Chicago Democrats, made the proposal in April and now seek input.

The 10 a.m. hearings are July 9 in Chicago’s Bilandic Building, then July 24 in the Cook County south suburbs, Aug. 8 in DuPage, Will and Kendall counties and Aug. 28 in Kane and McHenry.

Never miss a chance to provide direct input on the way public bodies operate. As noted when promoting a Metra survey last month, everyone’s thoughts matter, even those who don’t regularly ride public transportation. These groups spend public money and the physical infrastructure directly affects the way all of us get around, from pedestrians to bicycles to automobiles and beyond.

You don’t have to live in those areas to attend or be concerned. Lawmakers would do well to remember there are public transportation needs statewide and consider the potential consolidation as an opportunity to more fully reimagine what makes the most sense for all Illinoisans. There are hundreds of millions of public dollars at stake.

MAILBAG: From RK, responding to a June 19 column about budget cuts affecting soil and water conservation districts:

“The foundation of agriculture in Illinois was started by no less than its favorite son, Lincoln, who, on May 15, 1862, signed legislation to establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture and two and a half years later in his final message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA ‘The People’s Department.’

“Even in the midst of the greatest domestic conflict of the Civil War, with its social and economic costs, Lincoln and Congress concurred to formalize in the governance of this nation the then-emerging science of agriculture.

“One hundred sixty years later, it is purportedly unclear what is the wonder to see or more so invest in agriculture and its display of the best Illinois has to offer at the State Fair in Springfield. Maybe a stage of a state fair is too big, too broad a view of what Lincoln had set in motion. Try then a visit to one of the county fairs, like here in Woodstock, from the last week in July to the first week in August.

“There will of course be the entertainment, food choices of questionable dietary value, yet amidst all that, the farmers, the growers of products we see throughout Illinois. Chat with them, listen to their experiences of the natural world and learn what Lincoln meant when he said ‘… no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.’ "

• 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.