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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:16pm
Thu May 5, 2016

Ventra Puts Financial, Administrative Burdens On Chicago-Area Social Service Providers, Report Finds

Chicago-area social service providers that offer transit assistance to their clients want some relief from the financial and administrative challenges they claim to face when using Ventra, the regional fare-payment system.

That's according to a new survey-based report by the Chicago Jobs Council, a coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals focused on improving access to employment opportunities for people living in poverty.

Fifty-three social service providers, funded by multiple city of Chicago and Cook County agencies, participated in CJC's survey about their experiences with Ventra. The providers operate various programs, including workforce initiatives, and serve youth, the homeless and other individuals in need, according to CJC.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
7:13pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Chuy Garcia: Grassroots Movement Must Shift Focus On State’s Financial Woes

Former Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia urged those attending a teach-in on the state's budget to use the grassroots momentum gained from the city's hotly-contested mayoral race as a means to combat austerity measures that could adversely impact vulnerable communities.

The Cook County Commissioner forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a historic runoff when Emanuel failed to get the votes needed to secure an outright win in February's municipal election. Garcia lost to Emanuel in the April runoff by 12.4 percentage points.

Garcia spoke at the teach-in held at the McKinley Park Branch Library, 1915 W. 35th St. The McKinley Park Progressive Alliance hosted the event.

"This mayoral election was one of the most contested in recent history ... and one that has created space for community groups to be active in and for different movements to amply their voices and exert some influence and power," Garcia said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Illinois Transportation Advocates: Rauner Budget Could Mean Major Fare Hikes, Service Cuts (VIDEO)

Illinois public transportation advocates are calling attention to the potentially "devastating" effects Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's 2016 budget proposal could have on train and bus services across the state.

Spearheaded by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, the coalition of advocates has launched a new campaign called "Grow Illinois Transit" to raise awareness about Rauner's proposed budget cuts to Amtrak, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Pace and downstate bus services. Other organizations involved with the coalition include the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois PIRG and the Sierra Club's Illinois chapter.

Under Rauner's budget plan for the 2016 fiscal year, which beings July 1, the CTA, Metra and Pace could see their collective funding slashed by over $160 million. Amtrak faces a $16 million cut, which represents a 40 percent reduction in funding.

Speaking at a Chicago press conference Monday afternoon, transit advocates said Rauner's fiscal plan could result in significant fare hikes as well as bus and train services being reduced or eliminated altogether. 

Quick Hit
by Robert William Kingett
10:24pm
Thu Oct 30, 2014

Op-Ed: Google Car Could Give The Blind More Independence While Saving Illinois Millions

If I want to go anywhere in Chicago, my methods of transportation are very limited. For someone who's blind and has cerebral palsy, taking public transit is beyond difficult.

In order for me to go to the movies, on a date with a gorgeous guy, to interview someone for a journalistic endeavor, or to go to school, I have to pay $6 a day, $180 a month, or $2,190 a year to ride Chicago's Paratransit system. That isn't even a fraction of the costs for PACE to operate the Paratransit system. But why do I care? I'm just a consumer, right?

I'm not just a consumer, I'm a blind journalist in Chicago who's advocating for getting a law passed that would allow autonomous cars to drive on the streets of Illinois, breaking my dependence down to zero, and also saving the state billions of dollars on Paratransit cars. There's a solution to all of my independent transportation problems bundled with a nifty solution for state costs. That solution is what's commonly referred to as the Google car.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 2, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Emanuel Defends Pension Plan, Aldermen Call Mental Health Service Hearings

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

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