Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) received an $800,000 federal grant to help develop a tool to assess the region's transportation assets and prioritize future expenditures.
The grant, from the Federal Transit Administration Transit Asset Management (TAM) Pilot program, will allow the RTA to move forward with existing plans to develop a Capital Program Prioritization Decision Tool that will utilize its newly developed assessment and inventory of the region's transportation assets, including infrastructure and equipment, to prioritize future expenditures, to best achieve a State of Good Repair for transportation assets over the next 10 years.
The regional Service Boards Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace have collaboratively participated with RTA in the process.
Last year the RTA and its Service Boards completed an 18-month asset condition evaluation that reviewed the condition of existing capital assets for each of the service boards. The infrastructure evaluation guided the RTA in establishing administrative criteria to replace, repair and maintain capital assets for each service board.
The asset condition evaluation report concluded that the transit system's 10-year capital program need is $24.6 billion — $15 billion for the CTA, $7.4 billion for Metra and $2.2 billion for Pace. As examples of the transit system's urgent maintenance needs, 42 percent of rail cars and 39 percent of the region's train stations were rated as past their useful life, according to the report.
The RTA was second only to the MBTA in Boston by receiving one of the highest grants among six recipients to receive an award from the $4 million in eligible funds. The TAM program offers funds to public transportation providers, State DOTs and MPOs that can demonstrate effective systems and "best practices," which can be replicated to improve transportation asset management at the nation's rail and bus public transportation agencies.