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updated: 4/21/2014 5:30 PM

No movement yet on transit reform report

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  • Rep. David Harris

      Rep. David Harris

 
 

Proposed public transit reforms have yet to gain steam following an Illinois House Mass Transit Committee meeting Monday.

Legislators discussed a groundbreaking report from the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force but the absence of task force members meant a number of questions went unanswered, officials said.

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"There will have to be another meeting," said state Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican. "There's nothing out there on the table."

The task force, which included IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider and former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, recommended merging Metra, Pace and the CTA into one agency and eliminating the Regional Transportation Authority.

Other suggestions involved a "firewall" to prevent political pressure over contracts and hiring, ending stipends for board members and overhauling the financial structure.

Harris thinks some ethics reforms proposed by the task force, such as requiring transit lobbyists to register, could be easily accomplished.

Other ideas, including the merger, would require time to consider, he noted.

For example, the task force scenario suggests a single transit board of 21 members. Five would be chosen by the governor, who also would pick a chairman. Five others would be chosen by the Chicago mayor, five by the Cook County chairman and five by the leaders of the collar county boards.

Harris said he needs to be convinced the entire region is represented fairly under such a scenario.

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