Public policies are like sausages; sometimes we’d rather not know how they’re made. But Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois General Assembly and the Regional Transportation Authority have mandated that we dive into one particular mess.

Public policies are like sausages: sometimes we’d rather not know how they’re made.


But Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois General Assembly and the Regional Transportation Authority have mandated that we dive into one particular mess.


Facing a $226 million budget deficit, the RTA approved a scheme Sept. 14 to tap into $91 million of state-allocated revenue from 2008. This will keep the trains and buses from Metra, Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority going until Nov. 4.


What happens if legislators fail to devise an adequate funding plan by then? And how will the RTA account next year for the funds it’s using this year?


Those who occupy the Capitol in Springfield must do a better job at identifying funding priorities. Blagojevich’s quest to develop a universal health care program was utter folly, and legislators were wise to reject it.


But public transportation has been a vital service for decades, and it must be properly funded. The number of riders on Pace buses, for example, has been increasing the last few years. Do legislators want all those people to now start driving individual cars to and from work?


Springfield must work out a plan or declare that our transit system will die a slow and painful death. Let’s hope the folks there choose the former rather than the latter.