Villivalam, Delgado Introduce Metropolitan Mobility Act to Replace RTA

Companion legislation provides $1.5 billion in additional transit money for Northeastern Illinois

CHICAGO – Chicagoland needs a single, fully modernized transit agency defining service improvements and new investments paired with increased state funding  to  deliver world-class transit service and overcome an impending major operations funding shortfall, according to new legislation sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and State Representative Eva-Dina Delgado, member of the House Transportation Vehicles & Safety Committee. Following up on the 2023 Plan of Action for Regional Transit (PART) for Northeastern Illinois released by The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act will establish a new, fully integrated agency to deliver coordinated, regional transit service throughout Northeastern Illinois.

“Sustainable public transportation supports livable, walkable communities, enables equitable and affordable access to opportunities, underpins a vibrant economy, and improves public health. We need to have a robust conversation and make major strides to achieve the regional transit system our constituents deserve, one that is integrated, and commuter-centered. As fiscal pressures bear down on us, now is the time to plan for the public transit system for the year 2050,” said Sen. Villivalam.

Instead of four government agencies (RTA, CTA, Pace, Metra) competing for funds, duplicating services, and ignoring decades-old requirements for integrated fares, the newly created Metropolitan Mobility Authority (MMA) would oversee all bus, rail, and paratransit operations and respond to the diverse needs of our municipalities, counties, and state. It will require quarterly reporting on the transit ridership by MMA directors overseeing the transit system and add new representation from unions, people with disabilities, and the business community.

“I dream about a Chicagoland where public transit is so good it becomes the first choice for people to get to work, school and visit family. The Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act is the first step in making that dream a reality,” said Rep. Delgado. “To be clear, there’s no new revenue without restructuring transit governance to put safety, frequency and reliability for riders first.”

The new Metropolitan Mobility Authority, which replaces the RTA, would be composed as follows:

  • 3 voting directors chosen by the Governor with the advice and consent of the General Assembly
  • 5 voting directors chosen by the Mayor of the City of Chicago with the advice and consent of City Council
  • 5 voting directors by the President of the Cook County Board with the advice and consent of the Board
  • 5 voting directors, with one chosen by each of the chief executives of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties with the advice and consent of their Boards
  • 1 chair chosen by the MMA directors but not from among the directors.

And 6 non-voting members as follows:

  • The Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation or designee
  • The Chair of the Illinois Tollway or designee
  • A representative of organized labor, selected by the Governor
  • A representative from the business community in the Metropolitan Region, selected by the Board
  • A representative from the disabled community, selected by the Board
  • The Chair of the MMA Citizens Advisory Board.

“This new governing structure will give voice to everyone in Northeastern Illinois on transit – Chicago, Cook County, and the Collar Counties. It also includes board seats for representatives of labor unions, people with disabilities, and the business community and encourages board members to regularly ride the transit systems they are entrusted to oversee,” noted Sen. Villivalam.

A companion appropriations bill would set aside a minimum of $1.5 billion each year from the State of Illinois in additional operating funds for Illinois transit agencies.

“Accessible, safe, and reliable regional transit is the backbone of our economy, connecting communities, workers, and businesses across Illinois and Chicago. This proposed legislation for regional transit reform protects and enhances service throughout the region and enables better coordination of long-term improvements, paving the path for a more cohesive and prosperous future,” said Derek Douglas, President of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“Transit is essential to equity. Without public transit to connect Illinoisans to school and skills training to land better paying jobs, without connecting workers to better paying jobs outside of lower income neighborhoods, without connecting care givers to older family members, we can’t give every person a chance to get ahead,” said Jeremy Cuebas, a CTA rider and transportation organizer in Belmont Cragin, who added, “Equity starts with affordability – that means no more giant fare hikes and ending double charging riders if they use CTA or Pace to connect to Metra or vice versa.”

“The status quo doesn’t work for current riders or potential new riders. Folks don’t find the current system to be reliable enough, safe enough or affordable enough. The status quo doesn’t work for taxpayers either, who are paying for duplicate bureaucracies performing overlapping functions instead of funding one agency that makes transit work better across Chicagoland. Reform must come first,” added Delgado.

The Partnership for Action on Reimagining Transit, or PART, is a coalition of business, transportation, civic and nonprofit leaders and transit riders that formed in 2021 to develop strategies and recommendations for a new way of funding and operating transit in Illinois. Learn more at

The Metropolitan Mobility Authority Act is part one of the Clean and Equitable Transportation Act (CETA), a three-part platform that seeks to reform and fund transit, create standards to expand the use of zero emissions vehicles, and create targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the transportation sector 100% carbon-free by 2050. The entire CETA legislative package will be unveiled in Springfield on April 30 along with the rest of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition’s lean energy platform. Learn more at