Past Event

Café Society: Budget Gaps, Naming Rights & the CTA

As a result of ongoing financial troubles, the Chicago Transit Authority has been considering unpopular options including service cuts and fare increas es. Last month the Regional Transportation Authority agre ed to bailout the CTA, but officials warn that there a re similar, if not greater, budgetary woes looming in the years ahead.

In the effort to determine ways to cut costs, improve operations and increase revenue, the CTA has been looking for solutions from a consulting agency, AECOM. Suggested options include outsourcing, increasing advertising sales, union work rule changes and selling corporate naming rights of train lines or stations.

Whether it is beloved sports stadiums, museums or publicly owned buildings and transportation lines, the debate over the selling of naming rights generates strong feelings of opposition. In an era of ubiq uitous advertising, critics decry the commercializ ation of these important cultural and civic institu tions.

With branding and advertising already on busses, trains and stations, how much of a difference would changing the names of these entities make? If selling off naming rights to a train line allows the CTA to operate without raising fares, would the benefits of such a measure outweigh the costs? Considering the amount of money major corporations receive in various subsidies, tax breaks, etc…, shouldn’t we as taxpayers try and take some of it back? Or are there other options for relieving the funding crunch that would keep public transportation affordable and effective, without increasing the amount of advertising bombarding riders?

Join this week’s discussion to share your thoughts on the future of the CTA.

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.