August 27, 2013
To the Honorable Members of the Illinois Senate,
98th General Assembly:
Senate Bill 1474 exempts public transportation facility and services projects costing $40,000 or less from public notice and bidding requirements. For the Regional Transportation Authority, Pace, Metra, and the Chicago Transit Authority - this is a 400% increase over the current no-bid contract limit in statute.
It is clear that the current mass transit governance system in Northeastern Illinois is not working for taxpayers and riders. I recently issued an Executive Order creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force (“Task Force”), an independent panel of leaders who will study the system in the coming months and issue recommendations on ways to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and streamline operations. This is a good first step to ensuring improved transit service for our commuters and I look forward to discussing those findings with the General Assembly.
At this time, Senate Bill 1474 would permit the Regional Transportation Agency, Pace, Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority, and Local Mass Transit Districts to proceed in a manner that may be inconsistent with the ultimate recommendations of the Task Force. We must move toward greater transparency and accountability for mass transit riders and our fellow taxpayers. I believe that the Task Force must be given ample time to study issues like this and determine whether such a change in current law is prudent.
Therefore, pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I return Senate Bill 1474, entitled “AN ACT concerning local government.”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.