A Third Rail on Transit – Part 1

The Chicago Tribune has come up with the best way to thwart a comeback for suburban Republicans that I have seen in a long time.

Vote to override Governor Rod Blagojevich’s free ride for seniors amendatory veto, the Tribune editorial board advises in its editorial

“A third way on transit”

It should be entitled,

“A third rail on transit”

Give us ten more GOP House votes, the Tribune pleads.

Six more in the Senate.

Don’t worry about touching the CTA rail with the electricity. Let us editorial board members worry about that.

They’re really saying,

“We want fewer suburban Republicans.”

Maybe they didn’t look at their own paper’s sales tax map the day they wrote the editorial. (Click to enlarge.)

Collar county RTA sales taxes tripled (1/4% up to 3/4%, with 1/4% an unrequested and unneeded gift to county government), while those in Cook County–where people use most mass transit–only went up 25%, from 1% to 1 1/4%.

McHenry County stores will be charging 7% because of the geniuses who voted for Senate Bill 656 (except in Algonquin, which already has us paying more).

As it is, only four suburban Republican House members–all from Cook County–are on the bad roll call:

  • Beth Coulson
  • Carolyn Krause
  • Sid Mathias and
  • Rosemary Mulligan

Mathias broke his word to at least one of his constituents and seems to be having second thoughts since there were 62 votes. Maybe it’s because 60 votes are necessary to pass a bill. He and one other Republican or Democrat can have it both ways on this bill by voting “No” on the amendatory veto.

Maybe Mathias has also figured out that Metra is poised to hike fares 10% before the primary election. Good thing for Mathias that Scott Bludorn is occupied with the Ron Paul presidential effort, instead of running against him in the GOP primary again.

And, Rosemary Mulligan, fearing a hot general election, has stepped into a tar pit. Whom will she appeal to? The commuters whose fares will leap or the car drivers who could care less what it costs to ride mass transit. Mike Madigan’s attack dogs can tear into her from both directions.

Tomorrow: The role of DuPage County in this fiasco.

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