Every weekday hundreds of thousands of passengers wend their way into and around the Windy City via the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad, better known as Metra. The company provides rail service in greater Chicago via 11 lines that branch out from the central business district. Portions of the Metra system's 500-plus miles of track are owned by the company; the rest is leased from freight railroads such as Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which also contract to operate some Metra trains. The system includes about 230 stations. Metra's board of directors is appointed by the City of Chicago and surrounding counties. The company is part of Illinois' Regional Transportation Authority.
The company's board of directors voted to put executive director Phil Pagano on paid administrative leave of absence, stemming from allegations of possible financial irregularities involving Mr. Pagano. The board held an emergency meeting in April 2010 and decided to contract a law firm to conduct an independent investigation; the company will also launch its own investigation that will focus on compensation and benefits of all non-contract employees. Deputy executive director of operations Bill Tupper will step in as acting executive director.
Also under the umbrella of the Regional Transportation Authority are the Chicago Transit Authority, which offers bus and rail services in Chicago and nearby suburbs, and Pace, a suburban bus system.
Metra's service territory, which overlaps with those of the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace, includes Illinois' Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.