Representative Julie Hamos Wins Distinguished Service Award
National Transit Association recognizes Hamos for Work in Passing RTA Reforms
Chicago, Ill.— The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded Illinois State Representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) its Local Distinguished Service Award at its annual national meeting being held in San Diego, California.
Rep. Hamos was chosen from candidates across the United States for her contributions to the public transportation industry at the local level through policy, legislative initiative and leadership. Rep. Hamos’ extensive work in passing funding and organizational reforms to the RTA narrowly averted drastic service cuts, higher fares and unfortunate layoffs.
“Our public transportation system is vital to the quality of life and economic future of the entire Chicago region,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “That is why Julie Hamos’ efforts to obtain critical operating funding and enact necessary reforms were so important to residents across Chicago and the region who depend on mass transit everyday.”
On January 18, 2008, the Illinois General Assembly approved historic legislation which provided annual, permanent funding to the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace, as well as made other reforms to the CTA’s pensions, the RTA’s oversight responsibilities, and the governing boards of the RTA and Metra. Spearheaded by Hamos, the bill became law after nearly three years of intense political wrangling.
"This award represents the culmination of extensive information gathering, relationship-building and problem-solving,” commented Rep. Julie Hamos. “I am proud to have led the key players to develop a comprehensive regional solution that will maintain the world-class transit system that is the backbone of northeastern Illinois."
In meeting after meeting of the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee, which she founded, she pushed for ways to repair the system, which had failed to adapt as the region grew. She sought input from every corner of the region from the riders, business, organized labor, community groups, and even those from outside the region because of transit’s profound economic impact on the entire state.
She introduced legislation, the cornerstone of which was a one-quarter of one percent increase in the regional sales tax to fund mass transit services. The bill also made far reaching reforms to enhance the coordination and efficiency of the region’s transit system as well as implementing landmark reforms to the pension and retiree health care systems.
“Her tireless efforts and leadership led to the most significant transit reform and funding legislation in Illinois since 1983 being enacted into law,” said RTA Chairman Jim Reilly. “Rep. Hamos worked diligently to create broad consensus among lawmakers and community leaders from throughout the region on the urgency to reform and renew our transit system. We are grateful for her hard work and most deserving of this award.”