Thursday, August 7, 2008

Transit authority

Posted By on 08.07.08 at 04:34 PM

If Saint Paul didn’t convince us, Mayor Daley might: the latest converts often become the most aggressive evangelists.

I bring this up because the mayor has apparently realized that Chicago’s public transportation system needs some work, and he wants to make sure others are onto it as well. “You have to get this on people’s minds,” he said during a tour of Beijing’s system.

Actually, it’s been on our minds—those many thousands of us who rely on the CTA to get to work each day—for years.

But the mayor appears to have had his own blinding light experience earlier this year when the International Olympic Committee gave our system tepid reviews. The exposure of a major weakness in Chicago’s Olympic bid captured Daley’s attention in a way the frustrations of riders and a string of high-profile mishaps never could.

Now, the Trib reports, Daley would like to find a way to get CTA president Ron Huberman and others over to Beijing to check out their comfortable, high-tech transit network.

But some of his constituents are suggesting a far cheaper, more essential option: maybe the mayor should start taking public transit in his own city to see how it creaks along.

After all, if he continues to be inspired like this, the man who’s amassed the power and funding to “reform” the schools and “transform” public housing and “modernize” the airport can find a way to move buses and trains, if not mountains.

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