Thursday, April 19, 2007It's been a bumpy, squeaky ride of cutbacks, problems and "doomsday scenarios" at the Chicago Transit Authority, and word comes today that the head of the CTA is calling it quits:
Tribune staff report[Thanks, Norm!] In all fairness, the city's public transportation - and its 100+ year old elevated train infrastructure - is a quagmire right now, and grabbing this particular [Chicago] bull by the horns is going to be a hard, thankless job, especially if the money isn't there or isn't going where it needs to. Best of luck to the new guy, Huberman: we need the public transportation system on its feet again, soon, and maybe having someone who's an integral cog of the Daley machine will be useful. As the blind man said, "we'll see."
April 19, 2007, 9:33 AM CDT: Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi is retiring, Mayor Richard Daley announced today. The mayor's chief of staff, Ron Huberman, a former police official, will take over the transit agency. Immediately after his landslide election to a sixth term in April, Daley had denied that Kruesi would be leaving his administration.
Kruesi has taken the brunt of rising public dissatisfaction with deteriorating CTA service. He has been a longtime political confidant of Daley, who appointed Kruesi as his transit czar 10 years ago to turn around the troubled transit agency. Most recently, Kruesi has been preparing another doomsday plan of service cuts and possible fare increases that would kick in midyear if the legislature and the governor fail to provide a state bailout of transit. Daley has kept his distance from the boiling issue.
In addition, CTA employee retirement funds may run out this year. During the recent mayoral campaign, Dorothy Brown, one of two mayoral challengers, criticized Daley for pushing "glamour projects" such as the CTA superstation at Block 37 instead of focusing CTA management on providing commuters with relief from overcrowded trains and buses. Kruesi joined the CTA in late 1997. For the four years before that he served as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Transportation.
© 2007, Chicago Tribune
[Image stolen from the wonderful ChicagoIST.]