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Orange Line Extension

About the Project: FAQ

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) knows residents and potential Orange Line riders have questions about this proposed extension. Click on the questions below to view answers.


FAQ

Orange Line Extension Project

Why does the Orange Line need to be extended?

How would CTA fund this proposed project?

When would the extended Orange Line be open for use?

When would construction begin on the proposed Orange Line extension?

What will be the operating hours for the proposed extension?

Would CTA need to buy private property because of the location of the proposed extension?

Will there be places to park near the new station?

How would this proposed extension affect the natural environment and the community?

How would this proposed extension impact noise in the community?

What is the economic impact of this proposed extension?

Would this proposed extension help reduce traffic congestion?

Why is the CTA extending transportation to the Ford City Mall when it could be closed in three years?


Orange Line Extension Project

Q: Why does the Orange Line need to be extended?
A: The need for the project is based on the following considerations:

  • Access to the Orange Line is currently constrained by limited parking availability;
  • Access to the Orange Line by bus or auto is unreliable due to congestion approaching the existing terminal station; and
  • Few uncongested roadways are available to access the current Orange Line terminal because of wider than usual arterial street spacing, which limits mobility for residents and businesses.

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Q: How would CTA fund this proposed project?
A: Two types of funding are needed for the proposed extension – capital and operating. Capital funding (construction funding) for the proposed extension is provided partially by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), through its “New Starts” grant program. This program provides funding for major public transit infrastructure projects throughout the United States through a highly competitive process. CTA is currently in the second phase of that process that will allow the agency to apply for funding. Upon successfully advancing through the FTA’s process, a project would be qualified to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Government. The FFGA typically covers about half of a project’s capital cost. Other non-federal funds will comprise the remainder of capital funding. Once the proposed extension is built and operational, CTA’s operating budget would support day-to-day service and determine the frequency and hours of service for the proposed extension.

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Q: When would the extended Orange Line be open for use?
A: Project schedule is dependent on federal reviews and approvals and funding availability. For more information, see About the Project: Schedule.

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Q: When would construction begin on the proposed Orange Line extension?
A: Project schedule is dependent on federal reviews and approvals and funding availability. For more information, see About the Project: Schedule.

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Q: What will be the operating hours for the proposed extension?
A:  The operating hours for the proposed extension have not yet been determined.

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Q: Would CTA need to buy private property because of the location of the proposed extension?
A: At this stage in the planning process, CTA cannot determine how much private property, if any, would need to be acquired in order to construct and operate the selected alternative. The effect on private property will be determined in detail as a part of the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and the Preliminary Engineering phase of project development.

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Q: Will there be places to park near the new station?
A:  The preferred alternative would include a new parking structure at the proposed station.

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Q: How would this proposed extension affect the natural environment and the community?
A:
The current scoping period is a time for you to provide feedback to CTA about the potential effects to the environment that you feel should be studied further in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS will describe the potential environmental effects of the proposed Orange Line extension improvements and the steps that will be taken to mitigate them. Typically, environmental reviews for proposed transit projects address:
 
  • Transportation
  • Land use
  • Zoning and economic development
  • Secondary development
  • Land acquisition
  • Displacements and relocations
  • Cultural resources (including historical, archaeological and paleontological resources)
  • Parklands and recreational facilities
  • Neighborhood compatibility and environmental justice
  • Visual and aesthetic impacts
  • Natural resources (including air quality, noise and vibration, wetlands, water resources, geology/soils and hazardous materials)
  • Energy use
  • Safety and security
  • Wildlife
  • Ecosystems
 
Measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate adverse impacts will be identified and evaluated. For more information, see the Environmental Review page.

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Q: How would this proposed extension impact noise in the community?
A: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will evaluate the potential for noise impacts to the surrounding community. If it is determined that there could be noise impacts, then mitigation measures to reduce those impacts would be proposed in the Draft EIS. During the public review of the Draft EIS, you will have an opportunity to review and comment on the analysis and the proposed measures.

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Q: What is the economic impact of this proposed extension?
A: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will evaluate the fiscal and economic benefits and potential impacts of the proposed extension. During the public review of the Draft EIS, you will have an opportunity to review and comment on the economic analysis. Numerous transit studies suggest that transit investments result in economic development. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that for every $1 billion invested in transit projects, 47,500 jobs are created or sustained. Specific projections for the proposed extension would be developed in later studies.

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Q: Would this proposed extension help reduce traffic congestion?
A: The purpose of the Orange Line Extension project is to improve access to the existing Orange Line for southwest side and southwest suburban residents and businesses, support the area’s ongoing economic development efforts, and strengthen the competiveness of transit in the reverse commute market.

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Q: Why is the CTA extending transportation to the Ford City Mall when it could be closed in three years?
A: The purpose and need for transportation improvements in the study area extend beyond serving the Ford City Mall. CTA has met with representatives of the Ford City Mall and at this time, CTA is not aware of any plans to close the mall.

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