Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a $646 million state capital investment grant to repair and rebuild the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line and improve the Purple Line. The Illinois Jobs Now! capital program investment will be combined with other state, local and federal funds for an overall commitment of $1 billion to create more than 2,700 jobs by overhauling a critical piece of the region’s transit system that accounts for nearly 40 percent of ridership on the CTA’s rail network.
“Since I became Governor I have focused on creating jobs and improving transportation service for our citizens,” Governor Quinn said. “This major investment in the CTA’s Red Line does both. It will quickly put people to work now and improve the quality of life for Chicago residents for years to come by ensuring safe, reliable travel between their jobs, their homes and their families.”
“Chicago is a city on the move, and we must be able to move our residents with the speed and comfort that mark modern transportation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These investments will make our city a more enticing place to live, to start a business, to raise a family.”
Today’s announcement from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan brings the total state investment to $702.4 million for the Red and Purple Lines to date. Combined with $255.5 million in federal funding and $44.1 million from the city, the total over $1 billion investment in the Red Line will rebuild sections of deteriorated tracks to eliminate slow zones, replace or repair aging stations, install new power systems to improve performance and upgrade a significant portion of the Purple Line. Construction starts in 2012 and will last three years.
Some highlights among the Red Line improvements are plans to replace the tracks between 18th and 95th streets and provide upgrades to stations between Cermak and 95th Streets. Currently, almost 35 percent of the Dan Ryan branch is limited to speeds of less than 35 mph, with almost 20 percent of the branch restricted to a top speed of 15 mph. Without the investment made by Governor Quinn today, more than 60 percent of the Dan Ryan branch would operate under slow zones in 2012.
Further north, the Wilson and Clark/Division stations, along with the surrounding track, will be rebuilt. The ventilation system will be upgraded on the underground portion of the Red Line through downtown Chicago. Three electrical substations will be upgraded to improve reliability and ensure that service levels can be maintained. In addition to the work on the Red Line, ties will be replaced on the Purple Line track between the Belmont and Linden stations, eliminating slow zones on the 24 percent of the express service that is forced to operate at a maximum of 35 mph or less.
Governor Quinn has directed IDOT to work with the CTA in setting and meeting strong goals for minority and women-owned businesses to ensure that they can compete for these jobs on this entire project.
“This investment brings the Red Line into the 21st Century and gives commuters another alternative to the automobile and high gas prices,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “The project will improve the Red Line while also helping to make our area streets and highways less congested, improving travel times and air quality.”
The Red Line extends 23 miles between the Howard and 95th Street stations. Service first started in the early 1900s, with the State Street Subway portion built by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Dan Ryan branch opened in 1969. Running through the heart of the city, the Red Line today is the backbone of the CTA system, accommodating 79 million riders in 2010. Last year, the entire CTA rail system handled 211 million riders.
“This is an unprecedented investment in upgrading our system. It adds new momentum to our efforts to reform and renew the CTA with better facilities and enhanced service,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.
Since taking office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has worked with the CTA to invest in the system’s infrastructure. In September, Mayor Emanuel joined CTA President Forrest
Claypool in unveiling the first of 400 Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bus Tracker displays that will be installed at select JC Decaux bus shelters throughout all 50 Aldermanic Wards. The Mayor also announces a new station renewal initiative, designed to provide a facelift to 100 CTA rail stations over the next 12 months. In July, the Mayor joined CTA to announce it would invest $10 million to hire 50 full-time police officers to patrol rail and bus stations across the city. The police officers are scheduled to begin the Police Academy in the fall, and are expected to be detailed to the Public Transportation Section by spring 2012.