MPC Roundtable—The Chicago Region’s Transit Future

MPC Roundtable—The Chicago Region’s Transit Future


Bef (Captioner standing by) >>Check, check, check,
check, check. Check check check check check.
Check one, check two. Check check check. Check one,
check two. Check check. Check check check check. Check. Check, check one, check two,
check one. >>All right, if everyone
can take their seats, we’re going to get started. Good afternoon. Welcome to the
metropolitan planning council. I’m Audrey Wenninik and I’m the
director of transportation and we’re thrilled to have a full
room to talk about the transit in Chicago. A few notices of
housekeeping up front, we want to let you know due to the
overwhelming interest in this event, we’re live streaming it
right now as well as videotaping it. So just so you’re aware, we ask
that you please silence your electronics right now, but do keep your
twitter APP open. And to access restrooms, just go
back to where you got your name tag, get a key. And you can use
the restrooms here. If you need accessible restrooms, you can be
directed to the fourth floor where there are accessible
restrooms. So, before we get into the
questions, we are going to show you the world premiere of the RT A’s
video about invest in transit.>>Count on us. >>To get to school, to work —
and back home. — >>Audrey Wennink: All
right, that was great. That makes the case. A couple of logistical issues on
your chairs, we have cards. That’s how we’ll take questions
later. As you think of questions, feel free to pass
them to the aisles and they’ll be collected by my colleague and
brought up to me to ask the panel ist in
addition, please feel free to TWEET on social media. Here are the hashtags of the
transit agencies and this event and
that’s what we’ll be collecting information for questions from
those watching via live stream. And we’d like to thank our
generous sponsors. Thank you so Chariot SPD and WSP
to help make events like this possible. So thank you very
much. Before we get into our panel, I would like to — and these are
our panelists here coming up in a moment, before we get to the
panel, I would like to do a few slides to talk about
the need for investment in transit in the region. So, we actually called the
twitter feeds over CTA to take a look at
the user perspective, how are delays
trending and, you know, what is the user experience based on the
ability to invest in infrastructure? So, we don’t have Pace here
because they don’t have as robust of a twitter presence
with their system, but what we saw is there was an average of 6
to 7 delays related to infrastructure
per day on each of these systems and we
have to keep in mind that with CTA, when you have a delay in the loop, for
example, it may often — if you have an infrastructure problem,
it delays multiple trains, brown, pink, green, purple, in
the loop. So it’s really affecting a lot more trains that
it may seem. And with metro, when there’s, for example, a
problem at rush hour, it may affect multiple trains running
on that same line. So we recognize that twitter is not a scientific review of the
asset management systems, but this gives a user — a user-facing
perspective on how this is affecting people’s experience
every day. And what is the cause? You can
see, these are some of the categories that the transit
agency used, mechanical, door problems,
signal switch problems, track obstruction, etc. And when you look at the share
of overall delays that are attributable to mechanical problems, these can
be fixed by investment. As you heard, 31% of the rolling
stock in our system is past. So
investment can help reduce these numbers of delays. So, for CTA, more than half of
delays, according to twitter, are related to mechanical problems, and for
Metra, nearly 2/3 are related to
mechanical problems. While the transit agency is doing an
absolutely great job with the funding they have, and we appreciate
them using communication tools like twitter to communicate with
their riders, we must recognize that we’re already seeing the
impacts of this insufficient funding on our rider experience. And so it’s really critical to
us is uh TANably fund our season.
So, now — to sustainably fund our system.
So now, let’s begin to get to our conversation. I would
like to invite our four speakers to come up to the front of the
room. And we are going to get the
light out of your eyes. So, come on up, please, and have
a seat at the front of the room. [ Applause ] >>Dorval Carter: We are so
pleased today to have — >>Audrey Wennink: We’re so
pleased today to have the four executives of our transit
agencies here today in one room. This does not happen very often. We’re thrilled to have Leanne
Redden, the executive director of the regional transportation
authority. I’m going in order here in the
front, T.J. Ross, the Executive Director of Pace. Dorval Carter, the President of
the transit authority, and Jim
Derwinski, the executive director of Metra. Thank you for
being here. We’ll get to — I see you
switching on your microphone. Experienced panelists there.
Switch on your microphones. Give each of the panel ILSs a few
moments to give introductory statements and then we’ll get to
questions. Go ahead, Leanne. >>Leanne Redden: Sure.
Thank you for watching the video. That was our world
premiere. No cool trailer. But it succinctly makes the case. We
put the plan together but odds are people aren’t going to read
even a document. So good to have something a
little more palatable across the region. One thing I wanted to
set the tone on some of the conversations that the current
planning structure we have on the operating and capital side
are not sustainable, we’re in a critical juncture, something has
to give, something has to change. We know the state is not in
great fiscal shape itself. What are we going to do as a region
to think about how are we going to move forward? We’re lucky
enough to have one of the — the second largest transit network
in the country. It is big but it is old. It presents
opportunities but huge challenges. The $2 billion to $3
billion a year we need to be investing in transit. We have to
be mindful of talking about this, not just in terms of
building bridges and roads and tunnels and track and
structures, but what about the reason to invest in our
infrastructure. This is not a handout. This delivers a return
on investment. But really drives this state’s economy. And I
think if we acknowledge, that I think it helps in our
conversation advancing the issue making Takase for investment. >>Audrey Wennink: Keep the
microphone close to your mouth so we can hear you well, thank
you. TJ, you want to go next?
>>Thomas Ross: Obviously we’re here to talk about capital
and the impact it has on our operating expenses. But I came
here 20 years ago, we — shortly after that, we got a capital
plan in the state and did a lot of good things. About 10 years
ago, we did about the same. And now we’re, WRUNS again, in
the position where we need to do capital. Pace has done nearly everything
we — with the capital program. Over the last ten years, we
moved $100 million worth of operating funding that would
traditionally be for operating into the capital side buying a
number of items and the things we’ve
implemented a little less in the last eight years most of them
were funded by local funds, what we call positive budget
variance. So we’re at the end of the rope. Now’s the time to go
back and let’s find some capital and seek to improve this. Be a safer system, a faster
system, and be more on time. >>Audrey Wennink: Thank
you. >>Jim Derwinski: Hello? Hello? >>Audrey Wennink: You can
use this one? >>Jim Derwinski: Hello? You know, I — I could echo
everything that Leanne and T.J. said with regards to our capital
needs. It’s important to point out that while CTA is 70 years
old, our system is 125 years old. And there are portions of our
system that have not had the type of capital investment that is necessary for
decades. We were very fortunate under the
leadership of the current mayor to invest over $8 billion in
capital improvements over the past several years. And than is certainly, I think,
show. You can see how that community has just taken off and
it started at the time that we made the investment at the
station at that location. And we’re really great with
that. But the truth of the matter is, as T.J. indicated,
we’re running out of rabbits to pull out of the hat. I spent my career at the local
and federal level and I know every funding and financing
trick you can use having seen it at the national level and here
locally. We’ve been very innovative in our approach to
funding. We’ve had transit tips funding
the biggest project in CTA. We used the ride daily fee
currently to fund infrastructure improvements and safety
improvements in our system. But what we really need is a
long-term, sustainable, dependable funding source that
can allow us to — over the — for the funding needs that we
have going forward. >>Thank you. Prior to becoming executive
director, I spent the last 22 years in mechanical. So I’m very
close to the problem. Owner-operator right now of the
oldest passenger — (indiscernible) in the country. Go and speak to our peers when
we learn the lessons on the funding and infrastructure side,
they aren’t at all when I talk about when we run out here and
the fact they retired it years ago. I said, you know, we bought it
from you. We had to find innovative ways
on a continuous basis to — we’ve had to find innovative way on a continual
basis to do a lot with a little. We don’t have the ability like
Dorval has there with some of the funding mechanisms and the
tricks that he’s learned over the years. But, at the end of the day, it’s
maybe our own fault that we continue
to survive and excel with very little. The time now, like he says, it’s
$2 billion to $3 billion a year to get us back to a state of
good repair, to get us back to it. But it’s not even, yet, touch
ing what the city needs, which is growth. So it’s a bigger part
of the conversation. T.J. talks about ten years’ capital,
ten years’ capital, it doesn’t help. It has to be every year.
>>Thank you. Thank you very much for your opening remarks. Now, let’s get to our
discussion. >>Audrey Wennink: So the
good news, we don’t know if it’s good news yet. We hope it will
be good news is there’s discussion of a financing
package hopefully of being advanced in
springfield next year for transportation. There’s
certainly some folks talking about that. Now while we recognize there’s a
lot of maintenance backlog that needs to be addressed as
documented in the transit report, voters want to see
modernization, innovation, and improvement. What improvements and
innovations can riders expect if new revenue is secured? How can we show legislators that
the funds will be used to modernize and innovate the
system. >>Leanne Redden: Can I just
stop and these guys can talk about the specificings. One of the things about the
strategic plans we — it’s just not working. s. One of the things about the
strategic plans we — it’s just not working. I can be loud. This is the first time this
region, all four — the three operators, all
four agencies came together and agreed on the produce. We a lot
of the capital traditional investment into the existing
infrastructure, you get a lot of the improvements and innovations
and upgrades and I’ll let these guys
talk about the specifics. >>I can start. >>Jim Derwinski: I can
start. — (indiscernible) pulled off
the street of the RFP for a new car
design. An existing car design, a design that went back to the
1940s. And part of the reason for doing that is to take a look
at the fact that innovation, what really wasn’t being brought
forth. I recently was around some of the other transit
agencies in the country and seen some of the other different
things they have. Also recently, we’ve had
overcrowding issues on the busiest lines. The infrastructure right now can
only handle so many cars. The — the depot downb town can
only handle so many cars. The track can only handle so many
cars. How do you hold more people? You put more seats on
the train. So that’s one of it was big
reasons why we said that’s time to move FWARMENT and change away
from the old design. I’ve got a team of people right
now meeting with other agencies, talking to the maintenance
people. And talking about what went right with their last
purchases, what went wrong. What would you change? What could you
do differently? How does this affect this when you have a
mixed fleet. Innovation is clearly one of my
drivers. It’s not looking at what we’ve done. We know if we
continue to do what when he do over the year, this investment
and the system, we know where it’s heading. We saw the
pictures. Now that we can invest in the system for a riders’ perspective, I
anticipate like on our rolling stock, bringing in new and more
passenger-friendly-type vehicles. Secondly, on the locomotive side. AC
traction, there’s a thing called DC and AC. AC traction is the
way to go. It brings the reliability to the
locomotives that completely changes the game. When when he
talk to our freight partner, we’re good partners
with six of the good class ones, they don’t allow their locomotives to operate
north of Arkansas for reasons over the winter and here we are
operating every winter using that traction. One last example
the last time the state invested in us, $528
million in 2009 we finished the entire
electric fleet. We changed it all from DC to AC traction. In
2016, we had 12 mechanical delays. So we won’t get a lot of
twitter feeds on that one. In 2017, we had eight. In those two years, we ran out
90,000 trains. So when you invest in the right technology
and use innovation, you’re going to get a return on that
investment. >>Dorval Carter: When you
have a system that’s 125 years old, just about anything you do
is modernization. But the — the reality is that
we are very focused on improving the technology and innovation
around the capital improvement. You can see that in terms of the
work that we’ve done currently in our
system, the bus tracker and the route tracker. The communication system we have
today. You look at the features we
offer in the buses and vehicles in terms
of next bus stop information and the
automated station information that is here on a regular basis. You look at what we’re planning
in terms of fueling stations and future rail cars, you’re really
going to show what you can do with those
innovation improves customer signage, improves customer
features, the types of things we know our customers want and
expect for the type of service and provide to them.
And we look at the architectural and other work
we’ve done on the stations that have been built. Look at Wilson station,
Washington with a bash built for us. You look at Morgan, you can see
the commitment we’re making to modernizing and upgrading our
stations throughout the stations as we continue to
do it on a modernization effort for the city. >>Thomas Ross: We’ll use the mic
that works. If it was a state legislator,
I’d say what are you doing. I’d want to give specific
examples of how we’re doing it. The system started out with CTA.
We knocked on the door and said can we get in? They said, sure,
come on in. Metra did the same thing. So we have a combined system,
the Metra fare paying system. We went through a reorganization
in the north Evanston Scopey area. We
worked together and came one a solution that works for that
area and we’re implementing it now. We’re talking to the CTA.
They’re going out for fare boxes. We’re talking with them
about being a part of that program to be — to
buy fare boxes with them. So coordinating on that. The big one, the interesting one
for Pace is the tollway. Tollway just invested in $260
million in the bus lane on I-90 and we invested money in that
too. So we are working together, working together very closely. I think there’s probably a bunch
more examples of where we sit down and work together to make
the best use for our money. So if I was the state
legislator, I would say, okay, show me more of that. I think
we’re prepared to show the state legislature more of that, by
using the money that comes from all of you and using it in a way
that we don’t create our own separate empires. We work together and we get out
more good ideas, I think, for the future.
And priority. That’s coming to town for buses. That’s an RTA took that and
said, okay, let you all work together. You can have the same equipment
on CTA buses and Pace buses and it will work well for us and set
up the system. There are a lot of little things that aren’t
happening but they’re happening in cooperation and I think
that’s what the legislature wants. >>Audrey Wennink: Transit
signal priority. Yeah. Thank you so much. The next question is we hear a
lot of talk about place making,
transit-oriented development. How can the transit agencies
help transit serve as a tool for place making to turn stations to
community assets that are safe, vibrant, connected to the
communities, and what is your role in improving station areas
and increasing transit arrangement development. >>For Metra, we have
several stationings. Glenview, we have a lot of success stories
where we worked with the communities and redeveloped that
downtown station area. They’ve taken it upon themselves to turn
into a vibe rabbit area. We have 242 stations, not every
one of those is a success. Those that are, we can help to
facilitate the conversation between any community that’s
heading in that direction and the community that’s
successfully been there. >>Dorval Carter: I think I mentioned a number of stations
that CTA built that would have transit community focus. Wilson station, for example, we
not only rebuilt the station itself but rebuilt the historic
station that’s going to hold a community
grocery store in it. I’m a firm believer that our
transit stations are not just to take people from point A to point B, they
are for the community who they serve. But things such as the reacting
station, we looked at great open stations around our station that
communities can use for community activities. You’re
going to see more of that, you’re going to see that at
Garfield on the green line. You’re going to see it on
cottage grove on the green line, projects
we’re starting to work on to show that type of activity. We’ve seen a type of development
occur around our stations. I mentioned more of that earlier
where we’ve seen a tremendous growth in the restaurants and
retail and other businesses that are in that
area. We’ve seen it on if green line
where you see that same development around the area. So
what we do know is when you invest in transit, you are
investigating in the communities. By definition, it’s
almost a community-oriented development in and of itself. But the return on that
investment is critical to driving the type of
private development you’re looking for that ultimately
feeds those communities as the investments go forward. >>Thomas Ross: An example,
Pace is opening up on August 13. The bearing ton road, I-90
express bus station. That’s going to turn an area that
really wasn’t transit into an area that is transit. We worked with The state, the
tollway, I think I-dot is in there too. Those of you who drive 90, you
can she the pedestrian walkway to the east of the intersection
and that’s Pace. That will connect on both sides and
there’s a lot of redevelopment occurring in that area. A lot of empty office space. 1
million square feet to the north to be redeveloped. Going to be a
big deal. Transit is going to be a part of it. The
>>Leanne Redden: They give good foundations. We need to
double down on that. I think we need though do that on steroids
and sort of spread the word around the region. RTA has done a lot to do the
early planning phases of local municipalities. The practical reality, none of
us get to control the land use decisions that are happening in
and around the transit station. Some of it is education and
laying the foundation for that planning, but I think thinking beyond that, how
do we even capture the value of the
investments of transit into — to use that to sort of reinvest
in the transit system and a development around. We need to
be thinking more about in terms of partnerships, not just
being an anchor or a hub for development, but actually sort
of fully integrating it and surprise, surprise, I grew up in
Australia, and you can see examples. I mean, Australia is not by any
means the Hong Kong example of the world in transit. But
there’s examples of transit stations that you cannot see. They’re literally inside,
they’re built up, around, above, and below. The transit system is
the income but there’s commercial, residential,
educational facilities. They’re all built up, in, and around. We
have great assets and we should be leveraging those further as
we think and get more creative going forward.
>>The Townsend center is the closest thing where there’s a
station in the basement and goes right into an office building.
So great example. >>There have been truly
innovative approaches to planning in terms of planning
that we’ve seen in terms of other regions, recently. In L.A. , they developed a first
strategic plan. There have been complete overhauls of the bus
route systems of Baltimore and Houston. With Houston being one of the
only systems that increase bus ridership after they did that.
And there has been the establishment by L.A. metro of the office of
extraordinary innovation and that word “extraordinary” is
very important. They’re accepting unsolicited
proposals from the private sector. What types of planning
innovation would you like to see in this region? >>Well, I think that first
of all, we have to be innovative. I don’t want to
start with the premise that innovation doesn’t have a name
in our region. Jim mentioned an Metra App.
We’re one of the first in the country to implement that type of fare
media system. >>In the world. It’s account Pace and no one has
that system and people are coming here to talk to CTA about
how to implement that around the world.
>>Right. So there is innovation happening even as we
speak. The challenge around innovation, of course, is money having the
resources to offer support to the innovation that we want to
pursue. Having said that, projects like
grouplink which is bus planning purposes around the city,
prioritization that T.J. mentioned earlier is being
expanded around the city to work in
certain corridors faster to work in ways that we haven’t been
able to do before. I think the opportunities for
innovation going forward are going to include not just bus,
but rail. We talk a lot about the the
network that exists in this city. Part of the issue is how
do you connect that network up. You’ve got ride share, CTA, the
metro, you got Pace. CTA, Metra, Pace, are hooked
together. What the consumer wants is the
easy access to pick among multiple platforms to meet the
various needs over whatever period of time they’re pursuing,
the transportation and decision-making route. Part of being in a position to
provide that is a reliability question for us, which cuts back
to investment in infrastructure. But also a technology discussion
in terms of providing for the type of technology that would
allow for that seamless interaction. We’re in the process of
integrating it into our Metra Appp. I think the
platform will form the basis for those opportunities and also with Uber, Lyft and others so at
some point in time, take one app,
make decisions about transportation options, just
like Google maps will lay out your various options to get from
point A to point B, you can do it with public transportation.
How to make the best decision for you as a consumer.
What make this is city so great is we have so many options
available to us. One of those options has to be
public transportation. >>Thomas Ross: Just to add
on. A little different with the rail. We don’t get to turn right
or turn left if there’s traffic ahead of us. So it’s
infrastructure. For us, it’s complete
infrastructure to meet the needs and basically in
our world, we’re competing. We’re not competing with T.J. He’s helping to get more cars
off of the roads to reduce congestion. We’re competing with
the automobile. That’s the only thing we can offer there, time.
We have an environmental footprint that’s far less than
1,000 people in their car when we put 1,000 people on the
train. We don’t out the that enough. It’s infrastructure. You
talk about a railroad’s infrastructure, you’re talking
abadding track. Adding track means putting track sideways,
putting more crossovers in. And for some communities, it’s a
very hard lift. But once again, to meet the needs of the future, we have to start
looking at the infrastructure and not just
the current infrastructure if we’re going to meet the needs.
We’re going to listen recently to the business groups. And the
new workforce that’s coming in. They have a lot of needs and
desires and the way they want to get around, the bike, the mobility, not only in
the car for us to be part of that solution and listening to
the businesses about where those people want to live and where
they want to commute to and from, it’s not necessarily the
standard traditional way of coming down on the central
business district for work. Some of them now are starting — a
lot of the big cities to commute away from the business district
but live downtown in the vibrant night life and community that’s
down there now. We have to continue to listen. But at the
end of the day, the infrastructure is one of it was
biggest things that has to change.
>>Audrey Wennink: Do you have a comment?
>>Leanne Redden: I was going to add we talked a little
bit about the regional relationship between transit.
Transit is ultimately the backbone. I meet with springfield
legislators, congressional legislators. There’s a theme.
Transit is old school, going by the wayside. Autonomous vehicles
are coming to save the day. We need to know and have everybody
understand that the public transportation network is the
backbone, the spine. You can platoon all of the
autonomous vehicles together in the Kennedy and the Jane add MS and you’ll never
have a throughput or the amount of people through that you can
with transit. With ear a sink or swim as a
region by the improvements in our transits system.
>>Indeed, it’s what makes the region possible to be a region.
We could not be this DINS if transit didn’t exist — dense if transit
didn’t exist. Let’s springboard off of
comments made earlier about fare payment systems. You referenced
kind of mobility as a service. Fully integrated fare payment
systems, not only for transit, but for
other modes. One question is how can we make sure people can
travel through transit modes seamlessly. Currently, to transfer between
Metra and Pace or CTA and pay a separate fare. If this region moved towards
having fully integrated fares and simple fares for riders?>>All right, transit fares,
they do two things. They raise revenue and they control use. So, the transit operator wanted
to raise revenue, but also if
there’s cases where just tremendous overcrowd
ing, don’t have the resources. One of the uses in the private
industry when I was in that is you would
raise fares and you eliminate your overcrowding. Obviously
that’s not what we’re going to do here. But there are two uses
for that. But I will say this about
integration of fares. How we move people from the closest of CTA
to the open system of Metra, we’ve had
a lot of conversations about. I don’t think we have the answer. But I want to say this, don’t
limit it to just to transit or fixed route transit. Because we are working to
integrate the Metra fare system with our ADA
system, our call and ride-type systems. Also, I think we have
to think bigger and try to integrate it with parking and
get it in that and the final one, which I think is absolutely necessary
is that we need to have our employers
offer transit as a pretext benefit right on your payroll
check. And the same way you do with
your health benefits for pinning the
deductibles on your health insurance where you have a
little credit card that a lot of people do, that needs to happen
with transit. Because we can get in partnership with the employers to provide this integration direct, simple, easy. It happens
automatically. My experience is that’s a great thing. I’ve had
experience with that. So, please, let’s not limit it
to trying to solve the problem of how we can move back and
forth between an open system such as Metra and a closed
system such as Pace and CTA. We need to include other people.
Integration of the fare system has to be far more than public
transit. It has to include all modes of
transportation. We were talking divvies, I
didn’t know that. >>Dorval Carter: I think
that for those of us who have been
involved in transportation, transit in this region for a few
decades, we’ve come a long way. I can remember when Metra, CTA,
and Pace had completely separate
fare model programs that did not interact in any way at all. We
now put it all on one APP. As a customer, you can move
freely between CTA, Metra, and Pace
through the App that you couldn’t do before. I agree with
T.J. that fundamentally the fare
question is a budget question. We have to address and deal with
as we meet the overall specifications
we need regionally. When talked about the capital
side of our needs, I think we would be remiss we didn’t point
out on the operating side, we’re hit regularly and consistently
for the past couple of years. We’re not just maintain
ing our operating subsidy. We’ve been losing it. With an
environment where that is happening, in addition to the
capital disinvestment that’s occurring, you’re creating a
perfect scenario and it’s not a pretty one. When we have the
operating subsidy that we can rely and depend on and it
continues to grow with a rate that one would reasonably
expect, then the ability to have conversations about fare
integration and other things become a lot easier than when we’re all
failing our own fiscal budget challenges and making sure that
we can continue to operate the service we’re currently
providing. So I think we’re going to have a conversation
about more fare integration has though be in conjunction with
the conversation about the subsidies that support the
operating side of our budget. >>Totally agree. The
conversation comes with this is not what we like, but how can we
afford this. At the end of the day, all of
the transportation costs money to operate, maintain, and costs money to
grow in the commuter world, and I just met out with a bunch of our peers, all
exactly the same distance and space for us,
the further you go, the more infrastructure you have to
maintain. That’s the same thing throughout
the country. It’s a good conversation to have. It’s about
the balance sheet at the end of the year of how do you afford
this? >>Audrey Wennink: Okay. Let’s talk just for a moment
about bus rapid transit. So C-map, the Chicago
metropolitan agency for planning has got its
draft long-range plan out for comment right now. And on the list of projects,
includes a network of bus rapid transit for CTA as well as for
Pace. When can we anticipate seeing
development of those systems? >>Jim: First of all, this is a
question for Pace and CTA. >>Audrey Wennink: Yeah, going
to let you off of the hook. >>Dorval Carter: I want to
make clear I believe and support bus rapid transit. It’s a part that the bus needs,
the city needs, the region needs. And we have not walked
away from that commitment. I have taken the approach that
allowed us to move forward in terms of
simple corridors, prioritization and things of that nature that are sort of
baby steps of getting to bus rapid transit. This might be the
gold standard of bus rapid transit but I think the
ability to pursue that feeds back to the bigger conversation
we’re having about a capital program.
There are certainly corridors, I think, currently has the density
and capacity to support a bus rapid transit system. But our
ability to pursue that right now is extremely limited by the
fiscal realities of what our capital budget program would
look like. So where we can, Pace and I —
TJ and I have worked collectively to
improve on corridors to allow for more rapid bus service than
we had. Single prioritization is a big part of that conversation.
We worked closely with the city in terms of upgrading traffic
signalses to allow for that opportunity to occur. But even in that case, the
city’s ability to do that is once again dependent on capital
funding to support infrastructure. We’re all seeing
the same thing here about time. But I don’t think there’s any diminishment of the desire to
want to pursue a bus rapid transit network that would
support the region the way we have a rail system that supports
it now. >>Audrey Wennink: Let Pace
talk? Yes? >>Thomas Ross: We have ear
doing it incrementally. This is going to sound silly. We have to
have bus stops. A number of routes we’re
converting to designated bus stops. It used to be stand on
the corner and wave at the bus driver and the bus driver would
stop for you if it was safe and then you’d get in and the
bus driver whether he went around the block — anyway.
We’re getting rid of that. Designated bus stops. That will
speed things up a little bit. Second thing, traffic signal
priority. We’ll have 250 intersections
operational in 12 months. Then there’s another 150 that are
going to be on-line too. So that speeds things up. A year from now, we will have a
pulse system which is a limited stop, mixed traffic, you can
call it bus rapid transit. It’s not exclusively on
Milwaukee from just Park and basically the KL
gulf Mill shopping center. It’s 7 miles, we’re learning how to
do it. We have a study looking at
Halstead, Roosevelt, Harlem. The next ones, that’s all in the
capital program. Just a matter of funding it. So those things,
the answer is, yes, are we doing it yet? Yes, we are? I-55, shoulders, riders showed
up three or four times than it was before. August — I think
August 13, we’re opening up a 450 car and park
and ride lot in plainfield in the very far west end of the
I-55 corridor for the service that goes to downtown Chicago. And then, of course, the bus
lanes, we don’t use them that often. I-90, because they did
such a wonderful job of reconstructing it. There’s very little congestion
on I-90. That is another bus rapid
transit if you want to call it express service. That and we opened up the bus on
shoulders on I-94 from foster to about Dundee. And that serves that whole lake
cook corridor. And so we are doing these things.
It’s a matter of getting it done. If you deal with 260 communities
and I-dot and Cook county and all of the other counties that
have to deal with, everybody has their building regulations,
everybody has their rules and we have to follow every one
of them. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this on the I-90 corridor, Cook
county played a big role on helping us
work on the Rosemont transit center, the
bus portion of that. That’s been rebuilt and completely rebuilt.
A lot of good things happening. Joliet is going to finish a bus
terminal at the rail station on downtown Joliet. We’rele going
to fund it. They’re going to do it. That’s going to connect to
the high-speed rail that takes you downtown. I just funded a study to look at
how can we provide express bus services to downtown Joliet to
the western part of northeastern Illinois. A lot of things just happening.
And it’s kind of fun. >>Audrey Wennink: All
right, one or two more. Then on to the questions from the
audience. We’ve seen, this is probably T.J. again, we’ve seen increased
interest in demand for paratransit. That’s transit service for
people with disabilities that live within
3/4 of a mile of Pace or CTA. Metra is not included in
regulation. We see demand for that service increasing due to
an aging population. How can we move forward in this region in
terms of not only serving the demand for paratransit but
getting to Universal mobility throughout the region. How can
we do that? >>Thomas Ross: You want to
talk about that a little bit, Leanne.
>>Leanne Redden: Well-time question. All four agencies get together,
Metra included sit and talk about paratransit and ADA accommodations. We don’t
limit ourselves to that. How we talk about accessibility and
mobility across the region, everything from Universal design of
pavements and curb cuts and more importantly, access to stations
and more importantly, access to mainline transit stations and
the rest of the rolling stock. Oneover the things they play in
is the travel training mobility coordination space helping as our population
ages, making sure we’re educating seniors and other
groups on how to access the main line system to hopefully stave
off some of the growth in paratransit so people don’t
necessarily automatically default to some of that. But
some of this also does take capital investment. And sort of balancing out the
operating costs increases, it’s champing
at the bit to talk about some of the plans you have on the books.
>>Dorval Carter: It’s timely to mention this topic
right now because just last week, CTA launched the
all station accessibility program which is intended to
complete the process of making all of our rail stations
is 00% accessible in 20 years. We currently have more
accessible stations than any other legacy system in the
country. We know it’s not enough. The big
issue of getting over the last hump, the 20%, is money. But we recognize in order to
create the basis for the funding, we had to put forth a
plan on what we would do and how we would do it. And a good portion of that is
tied into existing capital programs that we’re pursuing, like modernization
which also modernize along with the stations for the phrase. One of that would also make it
accessible and the other is finding the funding that we need
to make the others accessible as well.
We’re working with the disability community, with other
advocates for mobility to basically use the plan for a
blueprint to get us to 100% accessibility faster than any
other legacy system in the country. That’s our goal we’re trying to
achieve. >>Audrey Wennink: Fantastic,
you talked about some new rail car orders. Is that going to
provide benefits more like level boarding opportunities? >>Thomas Ross: Yeah, close
to level boarding. One of the things we’re looking at is a
design of a car that’s eight inches up so you won’t have to be lifted
to a, if you’re in a power chair, wheelchair, something of
that nature, five steps right now. That’s the way a few of the
other cities go. I’m leaving it wide open to
innovation. Maybe there’s something we
haven’t figured out yet to get as close to level boarding as we
could. >>Audrey Wenninnk: Let’s switch to
questions from the audience. I have a whole pile of questions
that have come in. The theme throughout the day has been the
need for funding and to get all of these ideas actually
implemented. And that’s to no small task. So this question asks to gain
great er support for a capital bill, how can transit engage
contractors, business leaders, workforce development advocates,
labor unions, and downtown business owners in support of
increased funding. Who wants to take that one? >>One thing we need to do
is publicize what we do. I had someone tell me bad news
travels everywhere, good news travels nowhere. A lot of good stuff we’re going
that appeals to all of what you just talked about are natural
allies for transit investment, we need to get the story out there so they can understand why
advocating for the similar interests. Clearly the video
that RTA put together is the beginning of that effort. But
there are so many nuance aspects of that that we can talk about
that are great things that we have undergoing right now which is why transit
matters. I haven’t mentioned my second chance program, which is
a tremendous program designed to provide exfelons an opportunity
to be employed and get the type of job training they need to
hold on to permanent jobs. That’s something I do because
it’s important to me to move people from point A and point B.
It’s something I do because I believe in the community we
serve and all of us do, we believe in the investing in
transit, you’re also investing in your community. We need to
get that message out there, particularly to those groups who
can understand why, you get us money for transit, you will be
the beneficiary of that. >>To build on that. >>Leanne Redden: We’re
doing that. When he ear engaged in those conversations and
laying the foundation of what the issues are? Some people
don’t know the issues. That’s the foundation of that
video. Build there, build support amongst different constituency s, I
believe we sometimes asking public
taxpayers and legislators for more money sounds like
self-serving. Trying to build an empire. We
don’t Dwight trust them. Other people telling the story is far
more come telling. Not about bridges and rails and buses and
trains, it should be about quality of life, access to jobs,
these jobs. This region has some really good things going for it.
It’s really come out of the recession pretty well. We’ve got
talented workforce that employers, you can see it over
and over again, are looking to relocate here. We need to engage
those conversations. I’ve spoken to be the
young professionals network, for example, to pick out people who
want to be spokespeople for some of the issues on behalf of all
of us. This is a starting point of an
ongoing conversation in education and really building
the foundation of support to have other people telling us
stories and making pitches for us to some extent.
>>Audrey Wennink: We’re happy to tell your story here.
Okay. Withe have to talk about it,
Uber and Lyft. I think we all know that there
has been tremendous spike in the ridership of Uber and Lyft
over the recent years. At the same time transit ridership has
decreased. What is your view moving forward and how to stay
competitive. >>I think we’re affected
differently because of the distance we move. To us, Uber and Lyft seems to be
more of a partnership in the first mile and last mile in the
suburbs out there. The numbers right now show that our discretionary riders, where
we’re losing ridership which is are going to be the evening
riders who have the now I can go 12 miles in 12 minutes versus
the 25-minute train ride. So the options, once again, time. So when it comes to the outer
points, Uber and Lyft is a partnership
and shouldn’t look at them as adversaries. They’ll get to the
train station. It should be developed with the kiss and
ride, but kiss the Uber driver. >>Dorval Carter: I have
described the relationship between Uber, Lyft and CTA
complicated. We’re impacted in a different
way than Metra is because of this issue. We don’t have a big
last mile-first mile challenge. The way the system is designed
and the way the system operates, we provide that level of geographic coverage
throughout the city. However, there’s no question
that the city could benefit from it and get more service from Uber, Lyft and what
we can get for the CTA. I think the real issue for us is
having to co-exist. You can see this any time that
CTA has a meltdown that you pointed out from your slide
earlier. When our service melts down,
Uber and LYFT are not picking up all of the people. The capacity they have to move
large numbers of people from point A
to point B is not matched without the
level of congestion and pollution that shuts down the
city. So the question is, this is a
broader policy question that comes back to the communities we
operate in, what kind of communities do you want? How do
you want the options to co-exist? What are the rules to
play in the sand box? And from my perspective, as we figure that out, you will then get in a
much better position to provide the litany of transportation
options that everybody wants. Uber and Lyft are not going
away. Our job is to innovate and not become a dinosaur. That’s
what I’m committed to do. >>Audrey Wennink: We know
the city just recently increased speeds
on Uber and Lyft and transferred those
resources to CTA. Have you heard discussions of the pricing
strategies to help transit compete better in certain
transit corridors? >>Dorval Carter: Here in
Chicago? >>Audrey Wennink: Yes.
>>Dorval Carter: Are there examples of other places you’d
like to see in Chicago? >>Dorval Carter: I think
Chicago is on the cutting edge of that particular topic. We’re the first in Chicago to
create a ride fee dedicated to transit which is also a recognition by the city
of the importance of the benefit Uber and Lyft get
from having a robust transit system in a city like this.
I think that going forward, the conversation really needs to
start to develop around the operation of the various
systems. I’m the big proponent of
prioritizing transit for other activities as the way to support transit use for
activities where you know tried to get everybody in their car down to the venue like
it’s going to be a challenge. Those are the things that are
going to benefit us as a whole as a community. I don’t know from a fundraising
standpoint what I should expect from ride hailing companies
themselves. It’s much more of an integration conversation at this
point and figuring out what’s the best way to operate
collectively as a group.>>One of the unexpected
consequences of Uber and Lyft is an interesting one. We approved
a contract with ten different taxi cab companies to help us
provide ADA and other paratransit services. I can tell you that ten years
ago, we did not have that kind of interest from the taxi cab
companies in providing this service. So it’s given us a resource in
various respect in a controlled environment because we know taxi
cab services are pretty controlled. We’re able to
utilize them in the ways that will improve the paratransit
services, help when we have overloads and help when we have
very low demand. Help in corridors where we need help. So
it’s an interesting thing. It appears to open up Pace to
markets for taxi cab drivers which is they do what we need to
have done which is good control on the operators and where the
vehicles are, and the fares. >>Just to close on that point,
I think one of the things that you heard from the three CEOs is
this is not just one size fits all in terms of sort of
solutions, answers, how do we deal with this. It’s a bigger,
broader, policy think that we collectively beyond the
transit agencies have to have.
I think in the downtown urban core, there’s a little
more control in the urbanization piece. All of this pricing
information. What is all of this? Should we be allowed to drop off
pickup locations around special events or some of the congest ed areas so it’s
not random through northwest Indiana where all of these
people pile out. But they’re stopping, we’ve got
photos of Ubers parked in the bus lanes
and things like that. There’s a control and regulatory piece in
the downtown for the Suburban environment, the partnership.
It’s getting everybody to the table that we have to continue
that dialogue about how do we work in this — I refer to it as a very symbiotic
relationship. I think we need to collectively across the entire
region need to push forward in some of the difficult
sometimes clash ing perspectives but bring
everyone to the table, think through how do we survive and
take advantage of the advantages, the resources, the
investments we’ve made. >>You made the comment earlier,
what’s the region we want to live in and set policy to
achieve that. >>Audrey Wennink: We’re
talking about the region. A bigger region. Our region goes
even to Indiana from the stand point of — there’s another NPO
right across the border. And the commuter rail goes
between Indiana and Chicago. The Indiana and Illinois state
line creates a barrier for funding but we share a nice area
in population. Can you comment on cross state
transit connectivity to northwest Indiana? >>At this point in time,
there’s Indiana residents coming out to the city. And there’s so
many residents, I come over the border and park at the station which is in Illinois and then
come in there. The West Lake corridor is what
they’re trying to build and fund. Its’s going to go to dyer.
And they’re going to provide some transit services in our
area. The older area. It’s not developed, it’s the growing
area, a shift in demographics of maybe, you know, people who live
there because of the fact that I’ve seen some changes in the
schools over there being from Indiana. I kind of follow this. The metro electric where we run
right parallel with them clearly is a concern of ours. We don’t
want to see transit, including the three of us sitting up here
competing against each other. It should be a win, win, win, it
shouldn’t be, I took yours. Within Indiana, it’s a
conversation we have with Niki all the time. They have busses
that are coming in right now. I know there are buses coming in.
So there are ways of finding other options. I think one of
the biggest things is that flexibility that people are
looking for. Your standard five day a week downtown commute
rider doesn’t exist like it used to. They’re diminishing in
numbers. Because of that, people’s patterns have changed
and they make different options based on their experience. >>Audrey Wennink: Helpful.
Talk about energy sources. In particular, CTA recently
announced the plan to add to the electric
bus fleet. Is there a date or a plan to convert the entire
fleet? >>Dorval Carter: That’s a good
question. Actually, we are in the process of starting to
develop that plan. As you can imagine, converting a
fleet from fuel to electric is a very complicated process, not
just because it’s not just about buying the vehicles, it’s also
buying the infrastructure and supporting the vehicles as well
as the employees and other facilities that have to
basically maintain those vehicles. What I directed staff to do is basically bring in some outside
help to help us develop a road map that would allow us to achieve that so we
have an strategic approach to how to do that and we can integrate it to our
overall budget planning going forward. As a broad goal, the
answer is yes. I believe the electric buses are the future of
transportation. But the time frame and the strategy about how
we accomplish that is something that we have to put together.
But we’ll be getting that process. >>Audrey Wennink: Let’s
hear from Pace too? >>Jim Derwinski: Two weeks
ago, we completed the version of our south garage. That
conversion took three years. That’s the first one. The second
one we’re trying to do is replace our northwest garage and displays with the CMG garage and
replace that fleet too. My background is edging nearing.
I’m a civil engineer. Maintenance director at the age
of 29. That tells you my background. The choice between CMG and
electric is a tough one. Ultimately, you need to be in a
non-carbon fuel vehicle. The latest are near zero,
emissions. And they are very competitive in
the electric. They have to lose some weight. They’re pretty
heavy and they’re also pretty expensive. So, from limited capital for now
looking at CMG. But if you ever want to get in a conversation
with me, Illinois really needs to be electric. The whole state
needs to be electric. It would be an electric
experience. We don’t have petroleum but have
a lot of wind power and nuclear power and we should be using it
locally. That’s my pitch on energy and I
think carbon-based fuels are really detrimental to the future
of the planet. >>Jim Derwinski: Can I
make one generic point real quick. I hope that everyone is
picking up on this in the presentation that we’re doing
today. I’ve been in the transportation industry over 30
years. I spent all of it here in Chicago. I can tell you that the
relationship that exists between RTA, CTA, and
Pace is better than I’ve seen it exist in my entire career. A big
part of what we’re talking about is the ability of the four of us
to work together, communicate with each other, and basically
get along as a group. We made a point earlier about
the prioritization of our capital program for the first
time as long as I can remember. That comes because we are at a
point in our relationships where we can have the kind of trusts that allows us to
engage in that conversation. And to a certain degree, our
overall the success we all recognize to deliver on what
we’re talking about as a region comes from our ability as a
group to be able to deliver on the transportation objectives
that we’re trying to meet here in the region. So if you take
anything away from this event, I hope you take away the fact that as you see all of us talk
and interact amongst ourself, —
ourselves, this is real for the four of us. We’re all committed to
delivering great transit in this region.
>>Great point. >>Audrey Wennink: Thrilled to
have you all here today. Talk a little bit more about
access for people with disabilities. We know that I think every bus,
Pace and CTA is wheelchair accessible. The challenge in particular —
more so for Pace than CTA is access to
those bus stops. As we see often, a Pole planted
where there’s a lot of grass and there isn’t a sidewalk. What is
the — what is being done to make more pedestrian access or
wheelchair access to the stops so people don’t need to use
paratransit and they can get on the fixed route bus system? >>That’s a tough one. We serve 206 — five counties.
We have I-dot. So every one of the right-of
ways is controlled by someone else. Every time we get a
shoulder, we have to get a permit. That permit could take a
year. And maybe in an area that doesn’t have a sidewalk. And then we have to decide how
do we deal with that? We will not put in a bus shoulder that’s
not accessible. That’s the modern way to do things. It isn’t really a matter for
discussion. That’s just the standard. That’s
the way it is. That’s the standard we have now. It’s been
b that way for 30 years now? It’s time to realize that’s what
we’re going to do. Sidewalks are a problem in the
suburbs. Just developers didn’t want to
put in sidewalks because it costs extra money and used the
right of ways and wanted to have the housing that’s cheap — or
cheaper. So they didn’t put in sidewalks. Now we have to go
back and retrofit and that gets back to the M-O-N-E-Y
issue. If you have the money, we can put in the sidewalks, it’s
just a matter of making that kind of commitment. >>Leanne Redden: The
highway province have become much more enlightened. My
background is planning. I’ve studied the municipal side, now
the transit side. Early, I was told by a high-ranking highway
engineer, okay, missy, we have to do sidewalks. We’re talking
about the road here. So they did the road. They put in the four lanes,
arterial, two lanes, anything else. A municipality came back a year
later and spent $3.5 million on a small stretch of sidewalk.
Easier for everybody to do it at the same time. We’ve come a long
way. I think the county and highway departments are much
more enlightened about how to do this stuff. There’s still a lot
of catchup we have to do. >>Audrey Wennink: Sure. A
couple more questions. They’re two related questions
about equity. So, what plans are there around equitable access to Metra where
no other rail service exists, for example, on the southeast
side of the city where it’s too expensive for the residents. Fares more expensive on Metra
than on CTA. Some cases I’ve seen only the
best rail option because people can’t access it because of the
fares. Is there any plan for the future in terms of that?
>>Before I hand it to Jim, let me make a pitch for one of
my projects, which is the exTex of the red line to 130th street. [ Applause ]
We certainly recognize that the rail system does not serve the
southeast side of the city the way we would like to. I have made the investment in my
capital budget to begin the environmental development
process for a new extension to that — for
that line that will provide a new rail option in that area of
the city. That we think will help to
support the transportation needs we’re trying to get from that part of the city to
downtown Chicago. I can tell you, we are still
more than a few years away from making that reality. But I know a lot of people who
didn’t believe because this has been discussed probably for as
long as we’ve been in transit that we would do it. But as a south cider myself, I
felt it was important for equity and other reasons we pursue this
as the real project, it is along with the modernization project,
the two major capital investment projects that we are pursuing at
this point in time. >>Audrey Wennink: Thank
you for preemptively answering another question. >>We have robust service on
Metraeel electric district. We run the most amount of trains,
the service during the rush hours is very robust. And so
it’s back to the time consideration. Are we providing
time against the vehicle? Or are people choosing to use
the vehicle? There certainly is some places where you have to
consider that maybe the price of the ticket has actually driven
some of our riders away. What we’ve done recently
is collapse one of the outer most zones past 40 miles. That’s Nash and McHenry county
as an experiment. 1% of the ridership, 12% loss in
the last two years in that zone. This is a key performance
indicator to the board to consider whether or not prices
are driving away some of the passengers. It boils down to the
bottom line which is volume. If you put — if we had a lower
fare, we have to increase the volume by that much more. If we can’t increase the volume,
lowering the fare just rises the subsidies so much higher which
for us we have 11 different lines to press down on the
services that we’d be able to provide on the other lines.
So back to the economic mile about the ratio and what we have
to support on the balanced budget. We, Dorval and I, have had a few
conversations in advance of the other rail line of possible — some
solutions that may tie the two systems together. Back to the open system, closed
system, how that payment goes to support the service, that’s the question
that Dorval and I and Leanne and T.J.
eventually. T.J. supports us. Delivering the passengers to
some of the stations in the many different areas, this is more
about that specific part of the community.
>>Audrey Wennink: Well, we’re almost done. But I’m going to let you each
tell us what are you most excited about for transit in the
future in Chicago? >>At the end of the day,
Chicago has a world class transit system. You talk to some
of our peers, you go to other parts of the country, they’re
just — they want what we have. They’ll pay up to $1 billion to
get one mile of light rail line, that’s what they want. We have
it. The exciting part is it’s been ten years, maybe the
ten-year collapse is going to flip on us and it will be
another call capital investment. It can’t be every ten years, it
has though be a conversation about doing the right thing to
invest in transit for the long-term future. We can’t
budget and plan the great products and great innovations
and grow the system if we don’t see the money continuously
coming in. Down in Atlanta, 71%, they
voted, the electorate voted and said we want to raise our taxes
because we want the best in transit. It takes leadership,
not the people here, leadership from springfield and from the
federal side to say what’s this investment going to look like,
where is it going to come from? At the end of the day, we all
support it, that’s why we’re here, you
pay for it, we all pay tacks, but we’re not paying enough to
grow it and sustain it. It is time. I’m excited because it is
time. Realistically, when you look at everything that’s
happening right now, everything is pointing towards a solution
has to come. And I think with the support you
have here, the meetings like this, we’ve been out with mayors
and managers telling our story. The RTA has as well. We’ve been
down in Springfield, been in Washington, telling the story,
telling the good news and the things we’re trying to do. And
also talking about what it could look like, what we could do. And
unfortunately, we have a little bit of dysfunction in a couple
of oh you are governments. Until we get that there, and
once again, I think like Leanne said,
it can’t be our voice. It can’t be. The twitters and the Facebooks,
may be that part of the voice. But it may be even a bigger part
of the voice. The legislators, the people who have to stand
strong right now to provide that source of funding to us through
whatever mechanisms that they come up with. It’s not going to
grow out of the ground, we’re not going to find oil. Illinois
has serious problems right now that have to be rectified. But
Chicago is a great place because most of the infrastructure is
here, it’s just now time to rebuild it. >>Dorval Carter: I would
echo everything that Jim said. I made many of the same points
myself in remarks that I’ve given. I’m excited about the
potential benefits to the communities that we serve. For the conversation that we’re
having. I have always firmly believed that transit is about
the community, it’s not just about moving people. And the
investments that we can make and the impact that that can have
particularly on communities that are in desperate need of
development and support are what excite me about the future. And
to be able to be a part of it, to be able to help support too
type of economic growth that I think we want to continue to see
as a city, and see those benefits go to those communities
and meet — that need the
opportunity the most is what I’m excited about pursuing. >>Thomas Ross: The —
Dorval pointed out earlier about how we all talk to each other
and the capital plan that’s before you is I think an
excellent example of that. My excitement is the fact
we’re in a good position to have a safer system and make the
investments that make the safer system. We’re in an excellent
system to make it a faster system. Because it’s all about
speed in many respects. That’s what we need. Then the final one for the person standing on the
corner at 20 degrees, we have a real good chance for making the
system more on time. I have a system that the service is there
when we say it’s going to be there. If it’s not there, we
have an alternative that picks people up or does something. So
I think we’re right on the cusp, it’s safer, faster, and more on
time and we do that we’re going to have
more riders than we know what to do with. >>Leanne Redden: To a high
level — everything that was said but more. What I’m excited
about is the leadership, I think the fortitude that this region
has got a strong economy, job base that’s growing and good. A
talented workforce. We have strong leaders who are ready to
step up and say, you know, and challenge some of the status quo
and say we have to take some of these matters to our own hands.
We know the state isf broke, the federal government is looking to
potentially pull further out of investing in infrastructure,
contrary to some rhetoric that some leaders
have. Where is the success. The L.A. example, Philly, Georgia, local
initiatives taking the matters to their own hands saying we
need to step up and we need to make an investment to our
infrastructure and region. That goes beyond transit. This state
survives based on the regional economic driver of the
Chicago-metropolitan area. We have to recognize that, we have
to talk about that. We have to have a real conversation
continuing about what it costs to invest in this infrastructure
and how to support it and maintain it not just from a
capital standpoint but an operating standpoint as well. If
we don’t want to have a conversation with the region,
this is a conversation I have with elected officials. If we
don’t, it’s a different future we’re talking about. You can’t
turn the light switch on and off on investment and
infrastructure. It’s sort of a steady decline. We’ve gotten to
this breaking point. Even if all of the money started flowing in
tomorrow, you can’t just immediately turn it all back on. We have to have a deep policy
conversation about what we want our future to look like from a
policy and funding standpoint and take that initiative and
build from there. >>Audrey Wennink: Fantastic.
We’d like to thank you not only for being here today but for
your incredible hard work. You’re 365/24/7, thank you so
much, thank you for being here today. [ Applause ] With that, we’ll wrap it up.
Thanks to everyone for being here.

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