Archive for the ‘Rod Blagojevich’ Category

Pat Quinn supports I-GO Car Sharing

January 29, 2009

Above: Quinn, second from right, with I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon (far left) and DePaul University representatives during an I-GO/DePaul partnership ceremony in spring 2008.

As Rod Blagojevich’s governorship implodes, and Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn prepares to take the reins of the unwieldy contraption known as the State of Illinois government, we at I-GO Car Sharing would like to acknowledge that Pat’s an old supporter of our organization and an avid supporter of car sharing and green, sustainable public transit.

Chicagoist just reposted an archived interview they conducted with Quinn in April 2007. When asked for his opinion on transit, Quinn gives I-GO a huge plug as part of the solution for a more efficient public transit system. He’s quite the fortune teller: Just a few weeks ago, the CTA and I-GO joined forces to create a new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO smart card that can be used to ride CTA trains and buses and also access I-GO’s fleet of cars across Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park.

Here’s that part of the interview:

Chicagoist: When you talk about tax relief and budgets in the State of Illinois, those three things – education, health care and tax relief always seem to come up. On a more local level, what would you propose to solve the transit crisis in the region?

Pat Quinn: Well, I take the CTA, and have all my adult life. And I think it really is a crisis. I think the poor service, the trains not always clean as they should be, management leaving a lot to be desired, this should really be addressed. We need the so-called [Regional Transit Authority] to really truly be regional. Too many turf wars between Pace, Metra, CTA, RTA. Given the crisis we have, and the sustainability challenge we have, to have a green way of thinking, where you need to have an excellent public transit system, I think you just can’t hand out money in Springfield to agencies that have been acting in a dysfunctional manner. So I think you have to put some strings on that to get better performance. An example would be a universal pass, which you could use for all transit services, including there’s something we know about called I-GO, which is car-sharing. So you have your transit pass, if you wanted to use a car, and use it for an hour, you know you have this not-for-profit entity, and you can get an I-GO car, and use your pass to drive for an hour to shop, and then bring it back to where the space is. To me those are the creative solutions we need to have right now.

Blagojevich’s carbon footprint

January 28, 2009

Many Illinoisans have long suspected the under-siege guv of being a gasbag. But while Hot Rod is providing fuel for columnists, political blogs, talk show hosts and SNL, has anyone thought about the gas he guzzled, and the CO2 he emitted, during his recent trip to NYC for that whirlwind PR blitz?

Look, sometime pols have to travel on the public dime. But jetting off across the country (and I doubt he traveled coach) just to brandish your shining helmet of hair for Larry King (look for the moment when he thinks he’s off-camera and tries to sneak in a quick hair fix) not only cost Illinois taxpayers for his travel expense reimbursement, it also unnecessarily contributed to carbon dioxide emissions — something Gov. Nim-Rod presumably is against, since he’s backed legislation to compel state agencies to buy flexible fuel vehicles that partly use ethanol and biodiesel. (Though the scientific jury is still out on ethanol’s big-picture advantages.) Then again, the Guv did cut public transit funding and subsidies last year, while still expecting the CTA to let seniors ride for free, so his promotion of sustainable transportation for all seems about as schizo as his attempted media makeover.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong. But judging from my own whirlwind Google search today, travel expenses for employees of the State of Illinois are administered by the Illinois Travel Regulation Council, which in turn falls under the purview of the Illinois Dept. of Central Management Services. (Ah, bureaucracy. So lovably Orwellian.) I may be misinterpreting the legalese here, but the council’s rules on “official travel” do include this no-brainer stipulation: “It is the policy of the State to reimburse employees for reasonable authorized expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.”

Obviously they aren’t going to authorize hair spray or teeth whitening dental procedures, but who out there among the electorate would consider Blago’s pandering on The View (“Come on, Governor, do your Nixon impersonation! Say ‘I am not a crook’!”) a “reasonable authorized expense”?

And let’s not forget that Rod apparently detests Springfield so much he’s long chosen to govern from his lovely Ravenswood Manor home. So when he’s compelled to head downstate, hasn’t that also been a completely avoidable travel expense (not to mention, environmentally obnoxious) for which taxpayers have to pick up the tab?

Emissions accomplished, Governor.