Last month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced more than $500 million for critical mass transit infrastructure improvements throughout the state. The funding, provided through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, will create and retain an estimated 18,000 jobs and improve traveler safety.
The funding includes more than $442 million for the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which will provide $253 million to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), $157 million to Metra and $32 million to PACE. Transit systems outside of the Chicago area will receive $58 million for new facilities and other improvements.
Funding for the CTA will help eliminate slow zones, rehabilitate elevated train stations, improve the safety of existing infrastructure and increase accessibility. Metra will receive $119 million for new electric cars and $38 million for reconstruction and improvements at eight stations. PACE will receive $32 million for bus improvements, new paratransit vehicles and a system-wide radio upgrade.
Investment in mass transit is critical to Illinois' continued economic recovery, according to the governor's office. Mass transit directly and indirectly provides more than $12 billion in economic benefits and 120,000 jobs to Northeastern Illinois, while also reducing road congestion.
The funding will help meet the most critical needs of Illinois' mass transit systems, including: replacing unreliable railroad cars, elevated and subway cars, engines, locomotives, buses, vans, tracks, stations, platforms, and other structures and facilities. Without this investment, slow zones would become more widespread and residents would be faced with more broken equipment and leaky facilities - jeopardizing reliable service, public safety, and economic growth.