Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced that its board has approved an amendment to its FY2016-FY2020 Capital Improvement Plan to include $75 million in funding for the Red Line Extension (RLE) project, a plan to extend Red Line rail service to 130th Street from 95th Street that includes four new rail stations on Chicago’s Far South Side.
The investment will allow CTA to continue to move forward with preliminary engineering and analysis necessary to finalize the project alignment and to complete a final environmental impact statement. The engineering work is also required for CTA to apply for more than $1 billion in federal funds that CTA is seeking to support the $2.3 billion project.
“This investment will allow CTA to move forward with preliminary engineering and planning work necessary to seek federal funding to make this vision a reality for Chicago’s Far South Side,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr.
The 5.3-mile rail extension would include four new stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street, each of which would include bus and parking facilities. The project is a key part of Mayor Emanuel and CTA’s “Red Ahead” investment in its busiest rail line that includes the $425 million Red Line South Reconstruction that was completed in 2013 and the ongoing $280 million construction of a new 95th Street Terminal, which will be completed in 2018.
The announcement follows recent progress made by Mayor Emanuel and CTA on the historic RLE project as CTA works to finalize the preferred alternative of the project — either east or west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on the South Side.
In October, CTA released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) in order to seek feedback from the public on the two options of the project’s preferred alternative. CTA also held a public hearing on Nov. 1 and will continue to receive feedback on the project until Nov. 30. All feedback received during the formal review period will be included in CTA’s analysis of the final proposed project alignment.
CTA anticipates procurement for further environmental planning and engineering work will occur in 2017. The amendment will be funded by CTA bonds.