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Cunningham introduces new legislation to improve Metra access

cunningham 111319SPRINGFIELD – At a news conference Wednesday, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced the introduction of new legislation aimed at reducing costs and increasing access to public transportation for residents on Chicago’s south side and southwest suburbs.

“Residents on the south and southwest sides, as well as in the suburbs, are underserved when it comes to cheap, reliable methods of public transportation,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We need to ensure everyone has affordable access to public transit and this legislation will provide another option to these communities.”

Senate Bill 2277 would require Metra, Pace, and the CTA to do the following:

  • Reduce fares on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines to CTA levels at in-city stations
  • Decrease zone-based fares in the south suburbs on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines
  • Adopt the Ventra card to pay for fares on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines
  • Offer low-cost transfers between the Metra Electric, Rock Island, CTA, and Pace

Cunningham was joined at the news conference by transit equity advocates from the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric and State Representative Marcus Evans Jr. (D-Chicago), who has introduced similar legislation, House Bill 3834, in the House.

A coalition of community-based organizations, religious groups, chambers of commerce and civic organizations have also signed on in support of the demonstration project.

“I welcome the bill being sponsored by Senator Cunningham. Residents of the south side of Chicago, and the south and southwest suburbs need faster, lower cost access to public transportation to get to work, to school, and to improve the quality of life for people who rely on public transportation,” said Linda Thisted, co-chair of the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric. “This bill addresses long-standing transit inequities in our communities”

The measure will be considered by the Illinois Senate in the spring.

Senator Bill Cunningham

 Cunningham2014

18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Energy and Public Utilities (Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Higher Education; Insurance; State Government.

Biography: Served in the House from 2011-13; full-time state legislator and lifelong resident of the southwest Chicago area; born July 21, 1967; graduate of Saint Barnabas Grammar School (1981), Mount Carmel High School (1985) and the University of Illinois Chicago (1990); former advisor to Cook CountySheriff Mike Sheahan and former chief of staff to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart; youth soccer coach; parent representative on the Sutherland Local School Council; lives in Beverly with wife, Juliana, and two daughters, Madeline and Olivia.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Burke
Frances Ann Hurley