CCAC eNews
November 2015
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
2016 CCAC Meeting Calendar Under Development!
The CCAC 2016 Meeting Calendar is under development, with meetings typically taking place the second Tuesday of the month from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. over lunch.  If your office would like to host a meeting and/or you have an idea for a presenter, please contact Kelly O'Brien at
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CCAC Learns About the Future of the Regional Transit System:  RTA leadership boasts it is "best maintained and cheapest system in the country"
CCAC would like to thank David Siegel, Partner at Sidley Austin, for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on November 10, 2015.  At the meeting, the membership heard from Kirk Dillard, Chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), about some of the challenges facing the transit system of northeastern Illinois, and what the RTA is doing to face those challenges.
Chairman of the RTA Kirk Dillard; Executive Director of CCAC Kelly O'Brien, and host of the day's events and Partner of Sidley Austin David Siegel.
Dillard began by reminding the audience that the RTA is the oversight agency for the three transit operators, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra Commuter Rail, and Pace Suburban Bus, which also provides paratransit services for people with disabilities throughout the entire region.  The three service boards also benefit from piggy-backing on the RTA’s superior credit rating that is one of the best in the nation, which helps the service boards deal with the challenges of their aging infrastructure.  
In comparing the RTA region to others, Dillard was proud that the transit service in the RTA region has the lowest cost per passenger mile of any transit system in the country.   “We are the best maintained and the cheapest system in the country,” he said.  Dillard also pointed out that New York spends four times as much money per capita on transit, and London spends nine times as much money per capita.   The RTA system also provides more than 2 million rides per day, and forty-percent of everybody that lives in the 6-county metropolitan region takes mass transit at least once a week. 
Dillard mentioned that Governor Rauner’s proposed state funding reductions would be 15% of the total CTA budget, and considering the important role that transit plays in economic development, he cautioned against these cuts.  As proof, he mentioned that after the CTA’s Brown Line was revitalized, the property values within one-mile of each stop increased 40%.   
Dillard was quite proud of the newly started Metra smart-phone app, which is designed to work with CTA and Pace, finally creating a seamless fare instrument that works on all three service boards.  (A formal press conference announcing the application was held just a few days after CCAC heard about it first.)
However, the Chairman also had some sobering news, including that the backlog of state of good repair projects included a cost of more than $30 billion.  Unfortunately, expected funding from the state and federal governments are only expected to pay one-half of these expenses, which are designed not to expand the system, but only to maintain the system that is already operating. 
Dillard suggested that it might be time to raise the motor fuel tax, which is currently 18 cents per gallon.  He added that if the motor fuel tax had been adjusted for inflation over the years it would be 31 cents per gallon today.  He closed his comments by saying, “To me, the gas tax is a user fee…This country needs an influx of infrastructure, we rate sixteenth in the world for infrastructure spending per capita, and we are being overtaken by every industrialized country in the world.”
Connector Update for November:  White Paper Draft Nearing Completion
Work is almost complete on the white paper making the case for the Connector transitway, the first new transit line in downtown Chicago since the opening of the Dearborn St. subway in the 1950s. The proposed line would extend in a wide arc around the Loop, connecting destinations such as Navy Pier, North Michigan Avenue, the Museum Campus and McCormick Place to all downtown "L" lines and Metra operations. 
The project team has spent the past five months establishing the feasibility of the first phase, which would run from Union Station to Streeterville. The team met with the management of most of the properties along the old Carroll Ave. rail line on the river's north bank and found no insurmountable obstacles - and wide support - for a new transitway in the corridor, although some problems remain. Meanwhile, other team members analyzing the project's development stimulus potential found it could increase the size of Chicago's densely built-up core by two-thirds. The Connector team expects to finalize the white paper in the next couple weeks and then present its findings to decision makers.
CCAC Members Tour the Proposed MOS Route
Recently several CCAC members, staff, and consultants walked the entire proposed minimum operating segment (MOS) of the Connector route, from the intersection of Illinois and Columbus all the way to Union Station.  CCAC's lead consultant on the project Ed Zotti led the tour and displayed various challenges, opportunities, and solutions for the project's eventual construction and service.  See below for pictures of the day's events.  
From left to right are: Mike Potter, Thomas McElroy, Tom Black, Kelly O'Brien, Gail Spreen, Christine Carlyle, Ed Zotti, Clint W. Sabin, Sean Kinzie, and Matt Fitzsimmons.
The group inspects the abandoned rail line that goes underneath Trump Tower, which now leads to a private parking garage for guests.
The group inspects the abandoned rail line as it exits Trump Tower and then proceeds underneath the Merchandise Mart.  
Next CCAC Meeting: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at Bryan Cave for Holiday Reception
Join us at Bryan Cave on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 for a  CCAC holiday reception, hosted by Greg Hummel, Partner.
Please Note: Besides being open to only dues paying CCAC members, this holiday reception is also open to CCAC Young Leaders.  To inquire about CCAC membership or the Young Leaders program, please contact Kelly O'Brien at

David Reifman
Commissioner, Chicago Deparment of Planning and Development


Wednesday, December 9, 2015



4:30 p.m.  --  6:30 p.m.



121 N. Clark St., Suite 4300, Chicago



CCAC Chairman Greg Hummel, Partner

Kelly O'Brien at

The schedule for 2016 meetings is under development.  If you are willing to host one of the monthly lunch meetings, or have proposals for programs, please e-mail  
CCAC will be officially launching a new membership tier of Young Leaders in 2016. Young Leaders will have quarterly networking opportunities throughout the year, the option to attend one regular CCAC meeting luncheon, and an invitation to the CCAC annual Holiday Reception.  Please have Young Leaders in your office contact Kelly O’Brien at for more information.
(312) 602-5148
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