January 18th Will Not Be CTA Doomsday Deadline
SPRINGFIELD—Unlike every other business day in the previous sixteen weeks, January 18, 2008 will not be a Chicago Transit Authority "Doomsday" funding deadline.
Under a landmark accord among Gov. Rod Blagojevich, House speaker Michael Madigan, Senate president Emil Jones, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, CTA president Ron Huberman, Regional Transportation Authority chairman Jim Reilly and Metra executive director Phillip Pagano, legislators and transportation chiefs will take a one-day breather from their now-familiar funding squabble.
"We needed this," said a smiling Madigan as the embattled leaders emerged after midnight from a six-hour bargaining session in the Governor's Mansion. "The nightmare scenario of daily mass-transit Doomsdays is over. Until next week." Madigan is generally driven to work at taxpayers' expense in a late-model Lincoln Town Car.
The rare non-Doomsday will provide beleaguered lawmakers and commuters with a brief reprieve from the string of consecutive daily Doomsdays stretching back to September 2007.
"With Martin Luther King Day on Monday, we'll have a four-day weekend to rest and reflect on what's best for the people of Illinois," said Huberman. "By Tuesday, though, we'll have forgotten what's best and resume fighting amongst ourselves with renewed vigor."