Management & Operations

Chicago Transit budget proposal continues modernization, holds fares steady

Posted on October 28, 2019

The CTA’s proposed $5.1 billion five-year capital budget for 2020 to 2024 continues more than $8 billion of historic transit investment completed, begun or announced since 2011.
Douglas Rahden
The CTA’s proposed $5.1 billion five-year capital budget for 2020 to 2024 continues more than $8 billion of historic transit investment completed, begun or announced since 2011.Douglas Rahden
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) proposed a balanced $1.57 billion operating budget that continues the agency’s unprecedented efforts to modernize its infrastructure and improve the CTA travel experience for customers across the city — while holding the line on fares and maintaining service levels.

The CTA’s proposed $5.1 billion five-year capital budget for 2020 to 2024 continues more than $8 billion of historic transit investment completed, begun, or announced since 2011. Those projects include rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones, continued expansion of the public art program, modernizing rail and bus fleets, removing rail slow zones, and adding new technologies — work that improves reliability, reduces commuting times, strengthens safety and security, and improves the overall commuting experience.

Additionally, the 2020 budget includes $78 million in funding for the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP), CTA’s comprehensive plan to make all rail stations 100% vertically accessible. CTA’s President, Dorval Carter in 2018, ASAP is the first-ever blueprint for modernizing the 42 rail stations that are non-vertically accessible, as well as upgrading or replacing existing elevators system-wide.

Following a decade without a State capital plan, CTA received a significant funding commitment in 2019 with the passage of the State of Illinois’ Rebuild Illinois capital bill. The bill provides CTA with $1.2 billion in bond funding over the next five years and includes $141.5 million in earmarked projects, including:

  • Cottage Grove Green Line station overhaul ($60 million).
  • Blue Line O’Hare Branch traction power improvements ($50 million).
  • Blue Line O’Hare branch station upgrades, downtown to O’Hare ($31.5 million).
The proposed budget holds the line on fares and maintains service levels.
CTA
The proposed budget holds the line on fares and maintains service levels.CTA

CTA will also invest $310 million into the $2.3 billion Red Line Extension (RLE) project, which will extend the Red Line South by 5.3 miles and include four new, fully accessible stations. This is the single most significant funding contribution that CTA has ever made towards the RLE project, and will fund engineering and design work needed to position the project to receive federal funding

Other capital projects to continue or begin in 2020 include:

  • Phase one of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which broke ground this fall and will include the construction of a rail bypass to meet current and future capacity needs and rebuilding four Red Line stations, and track and signal systems.
  • Your New Blue Signal Improvements.
  • Delivery of 20 new electric buses.
  • Delivery of 10 prototypes of the 7000-series railcar, CTA’s newest-generation railcar.

In addition to the capital improvements, the 2020 budget includes more than $26 million in cost savings and operational efficiencies. Among the cost-cutting steps are a hiring freeze affecting 200 positions — an increase of 50 positions over FY2019 — and locking in power costs at historically low prices. Since 2015 under President Carter, the CTA has achieved approximately $170 million in cost-cutting savings, operational efficiencies and additional non-farebox revenue.

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