Support our Work  Member Login

Public Transit in a Post-COVID World: Building a Financially Stable, Equitable and Accessible Mass Transit System in Chicago and Beyond

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 8:15am to 1:30pm

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 S. LaSalle Street


The Civic Federation is pleased to partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Committee to co-host a transportation forum on Thursday, April 13, 2023: “Public Transit in a Post-COVID World: Building a Financially Stable, Equitable and Accessible Mass Transit System.” The half-day conference will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 S. LaSalle Street. This will be a hybrid event with both in-person and remote options for attendance.


To register for the event, click here


While speakers are still being finalized, the event’s panelists and moderators will include esteemed government officials, transit analysts and transit policy experts:

  • Erin Aleman, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Sharon Carney, Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Washington, DC
  • Bob Dean, Chief Strategy and Program Officer, Center for Neighborhood Technology
  • Georgia Gann Dohrmann, Assistant Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco
  • The Honorable Julie Hamos, Senior Advisor, Office of Medicaid Innovation
  • Tom Kotarac, Senior Vice President, Transportation and Infrastructure, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago
  • Joshua Schank, Managing Principal, InfraStrategies LLC
  • Professor Joseph Schwieterman, School of Public Service & Director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, DePaul University




8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

Welcome Remarks:

History of Mass Transit Funding in the Chicago Region

Sarah Wetmore, Acting President, Civic Federation


9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.



9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Panel 1: Solving the Transit Funding Riddle in Northeast Illinois and Beyond

Transit systems across the United States face prolonged ridership shortfalls, safety concerns and a federal funding cliff after COVID-19 relief funds are expended. If the Regional Transportation Authority and its service boards are to weather the storm, it will require an all hands on deck approach, including coordination between transit agencies and the General Assembly, the Governor and local governments. What would an ideal and sustainable governance and funding structure look like? Can the CTA, Metra and Pace sustain service levels and avoid fare hikes? How can riders’ safety be enhanced?


10:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.



11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Panel 2: Envisioning a Mass Transit System that Promotes Equity, Opportunity and Economic Growth

Mass transit can be a powerful driver of economic development and increased equity. Who should transit serve? What is the business community’s role in promoting a strong and equitable transit, commuter rail and paratransit system? What are the best roles of federal, state and local governments in funding, governance and planning? This discussion will center on lessons learned in Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.


12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.



12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Luncheon and Keynote Address:

The Future of Public Transit: Which Problem Should We Be Trying to Solve?

Joshua Schank, Managing Principal, InfraStrategies LLC, Los Angeles


If you have any questions about the forum, please contact Annie McGowan at [email protected] or (312) 690-8772.


We hope to see you there!