Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the state will be investing $646 million in repairing and rebuilding the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line and also improving the Purple Line. The investment comes from the Illinois Jobs Now program and in addition to federal and local funds, the total investment will be $1 billion. It will also help create 2,700 new jobs.
Some of the improvements and repairs on the Red Line include upgrades to the "L" stations between Cermak and 95th streets and replacing the train tracks between 18th and 95 streets. With this major investment to the CTA "L" lines, here are some facts about the steps Chicago has taken to make more improvements to this public transportation system:
* In late September, Mayor Emanuel announced that the CTA would be improving 100 different CTA stations, including power-washing walls, stairs, and floors, repainting surfaces, replacing lights and signs, and removing graffiti.
* The mayor's 2012 budget proposal includes a new $2 congestion premium for drivers parking in public garages during weekdays. This new premium would help fund the rebuilding of two "L" stations downtown, according to the Chicago Tribune.
* On Oct. 13, Mayor Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation was awarding $38 million in grants to Chicago, a large portion of which would help the CTA purchase hybrid diesel-electric public transit buses, according to a press release from Sen. Durbin's website.
* The lack of plans for improvements to the CTA system was a major weakness to Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, noted Chicago Breaking News.
* The CTA reported that it accomplished major improvements last year, including $12.5 million to construct new station entrances, adding new rail cars on the Brown Line and the Yellow Line, and enhancing security and surveillance at each station.
* According to TribLocal, in January, the CTA hosted public meetings to discuss improvements to both the Purple Line and the Red Line, such as repairing stations and track systems on close to 9.5 miles.
* In September, CTA President Forrest Claypool and the mayor unveiled the first of 400 LED Bus Tracker displays that will be installed in certain bus shelters throughout the city as a way to aid passengers with schedules.
* Under the announcement made today, CTA President Forrest Claypool noted that the improvements would make trips faster for passengers, specifically making trips 5 minutes faster for Red Line riders, as noted by the Chicago Tribune.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.