Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool stated Wednesday that his agency is immune from the same sort of scandals plaguing Metra because “the buck stops” with the mayor. Claypool also believes that CTA should not be “lumped in” to any changes to the region’s transportation agency structures as a result.
He seems to be making the case that CTA is accountable to the public since the Mayor and Governor choose 4 and 3 CTA board members, respectively. Since the public vote the Mayor and Governor into office, Claypool believes CTA board members are accountable to the public.
Metra board members were also appointed by politicians that are elected to office by the public. The two situations, if I understand correctly, are exactly the same – meaning we may in fact have a lot to worry about in terms of CTA board members, despite Claypool’s preemptive warning.
Forrest Claypool has no formal experience running a transportation agency aside from his current position as appointed president of the CTA. His prior position was with the Chicago Park District.
Changes to the RTA and regional transportation as a whole would certainly be welcomed by Chicagoland voters, and any changes should include the discussion of the creation of a publicly-elected board member within each agency. The public may be able to better scrutinize the qualifications of a candidate in charge of many decisions affecting their daily transportation needs.