RTA Gas and Parking Tax Re-Dux

A recent column by the Chicago Tribune’s Public Editor Timothy J. McNulty told this about Dodie Hofstetter, the person who selects letters to the editor:

Hofstetter said she judges the quality of the letter, not whether she agrees with the writer’s stand. “I run letters I completely disagree with all the time,” she said.

So, I open up my Chicago Tribune Saturday and what was the top letter?

One advancing the same failed ideas of how to finance mass transit that the Chicago Tribune endorsed before the 1974 Regional Transportation Authority referendum.

Excuse me if I think that Ms. Hofsetter may have some personal or institutional stake in highlighting these ideas:

  • Create a 5-cent-per-gallon, six-county gasoline tax.
  • Create a 25-cents-per-day-per-car (regardless of length of time parked) downtown, off-street parking tax. Both of these taxes would be used to help fund the entire transit system. No one likes additional taxes, but everyone benefits from an improved transit system.

Some of retired school teacher James P. Furey’s ideas have more merit, but these two were tried and repealed in the early 1980’s.

Must have been a reason.

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