U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the closing of a $120 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for major improvements to the Blue Line of CTA’s “L” rail service, which will upgrade tracks and stations between the downtown Loop and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Significant upgrades to the track, power supply, and signal system along the 19-mile stretch of the Blue Line between the Loop and O’Hare Airport stations will reduce and eliminate “slow zones,” resulting in faster, more reliable service. The over 80,000 riders who use the Grand-O’Hare branch daily will also see improvements to stations along the line to enhance accessibility and comfort, from brighter lights and cleaner tunnels to new elevators and artwork.
In addition to the $120 million TIFIA loan, the four-year, $408.7 million Blue Line renovation, known as “Your New Blue,” will be supported by $16 million in the U.S. DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds awarded to CTA in 2012, with the remainder coming from state, local and other sources.
The project represents the largest upgrade of the Blue Line since it was extended to O’Hare in 1984.