CHICAGO – Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn last week formed an independent task force to review and recommend management and oversight reforms for the Chicago region’s public transit system that could affect the future of the Regional Transportation Authority of Illinois.
Quinn named former Chicago-based U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and public finance banker Carole Brown, a former chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority board, to the 15-member Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force.
The group is charged with recommending reforms aimed at improving oversight that could be acted on by the General Assembly in its fall veto session or in its regular session that begins next year. Formation of the task force follows a public scandal over the Metra commuter rail board’s ouster of its chief executive Alex Clifford and his $718,000 severance package.
Clifford recently testified during public hearings that he was forced out for refusing to go along with patronage requests, and some have labeled the severance package “hush” money.Five board members have resigned since the controversy unfolded amid heightened attention on the board. . The RTA provides fiscal oversight of Metra, the CTA, and Pace suburban bus service.
“This task force is a step forward to make our transit system worthy of the public’s trust. Their recommendations will be valuable as we work in both the veto and spring sessions to reform mass transit in northeastern Illinois,” Quinn said.