State lawmakers reveal public transportation consolidation plan

Illinois lawmakers revealed a plan to combine the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace into one agency April 29.

Proposed by state Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado (D-Chicago), the Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act aims to create a universal pass with a universal fare for all three public transportation methods.

“Investing in transit is another way to invest in communities that have been left behind, because transit isn’t just about moving people from point A to point B,” Delgado said at an April 29 press conference. “It’s about bridging the gaps that divide us and ensuring every individual, regardless of their circumstance, has the ability to thrive.”

This act is part of Illinois’ Clean and Equitable Transportation Act, which aims for the state’s transportation industry to be 100% carbon-free by 2050. It would also eliminate competition between transportation agencies for funding.

The proposal would also replace the Regional Transportation Authority, which currently oversees the three agencies, with the Metropolitan Mobility Authority. The board would have 18 voting directors, chosen by the governor, mayor of Chicago and boards of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

The authority will also have six non-voting members, including the Illinois Secretary of Transportation and the chair of the Illinois Tollway Board.

At the April 29 press conference, Villivalam said the plan would make public transportation more “commuter-centered,” safe and sustainable.

“Sustainable public transportation supports livable, walkable communities, enables equitable and affordable access to opportunities, underpins a vibrant economy, and improves public health,” he said.