The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) proposed a $1.8 billion operating budget that keeps fares at current levels, maintains the agency’s commitment to improving service, and continues investments to upgrade the system, according to the agency's news release.
The proposed spending advances the CTA’s “Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future” Action Plan, an investment plan that focuses on responding to customers’ concerns.
“Our proposed 2023 operating budget is both fiscally prudent and responsible, with a focus on further improving the essential transit services that Chicagoans rely on as the region continues to evolve from the pandemic,” said Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CTA president. “In the year ahead, we are committed to maximizing every dollar of our budget to both modernize our system and continue work on the strategic initiatives outlined in support of the guiding pillars of the ‘Meeting the Moment’ Action Plan, which addresses the most pressing challenges facing our customers and employees.”
CTA said its ridership grew throughout 2022, reaching a pandemic-era high of more than 5.5 million weekly rides in the first week of October. Ridership is projected to increase further in 2023, approximately 9% over 2022 ridership.
Additionally, the CTA continues to improve the digital tools used to provide customer information. CTA introduced a redesigned, mobile-friendly Bus Tracker website, and said it continues to work on the data and algorithms that power the trackers.
Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan will help the CTA close a projected $390 million budget gap in 2023—and allow the agency to continue providing full service, according to the CTA.