A passenger wearing a face mask boards a CTA bus in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Ridership across CTA trains and buses, Metra commuter trains and Pace buses are down about 70% compared to this time last year. With that dramatic decline in ridership comes lower revenue and strains on operational funding.

Regional Transportation Authority Chairman Kirk Dillard has just called for new tax revenue to help fund the region's mass transit systems which currently have a $30 billion project backlog. Chairman Dillard joins us to discuss the need for new revenue and the impact of proposed cuts to transportation funding by Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Local transit officials are pushing back against major transit funding cuts proposed in Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget. Will fares go up? We have the details.

Gov. Rauner's budget cuts funding to Medicaid and public transportation, and recommends changes to public worker pension plans. We take a look at what would be the likely impact on services and public worker pensions should Gov. Rauner's proposed budget become law. 

State Sen. Kirk Dillard is stepping down early from the position he’s held since 1993 in order to become the new RTA chairman. We talk to him about the transition and goals for the transit agency.

A new report from Gov. Pat Quinn's transit task force is recommending a shake-up to the structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace systems to streamline operations and budget woes. The blue-ribbon transit study commission is also recommending ethics reforms. Carol Marin gets the details of the report from the co-chairs of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, George Ranney Jr.  and Ann Schneider, and the Task Force’s Ethics chairman, Patrick Fitzgerald. Read the full report, and view a graphic of the current structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace.

Gov. Pat Quinn's rapid transit task force meets for the first time to assess the area's troubled transit boards. We have the details on what task force members and the public had to say.

Chicago Tonight first learned that Alex Clifford would like his old job back at Metra, and his lawyer says that giving it to him is the only way to undo the controversial severance package that is now estimated to pay him close to $900,000.

Eddie Arruza and his guests have analysis of the RTA audit, and they take a look at where Metra goes from here.

In light of the recent Metra scandal, Gov. Pat Quinn is looking to appoint a panel of experts to suggest a “fundamental overhaul” of both Metra and the Regional Transportation Authority. Will the task force recommend streamlining the oversight of public transportation? And is it a good idea to completely revamp Metra, Pace, CTA and the RTA? We have analysis.

New charges of patronage, no-bid contracts and strong-arming by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan come to light as ousted Metra CEO Alex Clifford speaks out for the first time. Clifford told the RTA Wednesday that Madigan's requests reflected a "moral and ethical character flaw." Paris Schutz has the details.

Nina Epstein. Image Credit: Kankakee Public Library

The Mayor of Kankakee Responds

Kankakee’s Mayor strongly denies that her city is taking sales tax revenues that belong in Cook County. Elizabeth Brackett has the story.

Chicago & RTA File Complaints

Are some airlines skirting the city sales tax? We look into that issue, plus the City of Chicago's tax lawsuit against some nearby counties.