The Chicago Transit Authority Monday plans to cut 200 management positions to generate $22 million in annual savings as it tries to chip away at a $277 million shortfall in its next budget.
Agency officials will also adjust sick time and vacation leave to save $15 million over the next six years and said it would press labor leaders for work-rule changes to ease the need for fare hikes and service cuts in order to deal with its red ink.
The CTA has not yet sent a 2012 budget to its parent agency, the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority.
CTA president Forrest Claypool last week announced the looming deficit in a speech before the City Club of Chicago. He blamed the gap on skyrocketing labor costs and antiquated work rules and warned the agency could not continue to borrow from its capital funds or rely on one-time borrowings from the RTA or the state.
The RTA last year approved a $2.3 billion operating budget for 2011 that drew from capital funds to cover operating costs as it waits for its share of local sales tax revenue to recover from the recession.
The budget allocated $1.33 billion to the CTA, $634.2 million to Metra commuter rail, $183.3 million to Pace suburban bus service, $120.7 million for paratransit, and $33.7 million for RTA administrative costs.
The authority’s service boards struggled to balance their 2011 budgets, given lackluster sales tax collections and delays in state aid payments. It was able to avoid service cuts or fare increases primarily by transferring $258 million in federal capital funds to cover qualified operating expenses that included preventative maintenance.
The Illinois Regional Transportation Authority has in recent years siphoned off capital funds for operations, but the 2011 transfer represents the largest amount yet, and is not sustainable, officials have said.