Alternatives Analysis Studies for Proposed Rail Extension Projects Approved by Chicago Transit Board

September 13, 2006

Today the Chicago Transit Board approved a $3.5 million contract to perform Alternatives Analysis studies for the proposed rail line extensions on the Chicago Transit Authority's Red, Orange and Yellow lines. CTA is considering extending the Red Line to 130th Street, the Orange Line to the Ford City Mall and the Yellow Line to Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard shopping center.

An Alternatives Analysis study is a required planning step in the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) process for pursuing New Starts grant program funding for major transit system expansions. The studies will examine all of the transit options available and a locally preferred alternative will be determined for each area.

?Conducting Alternatives Analysis studies is a critical step in taking transit projects from concept to reality," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Investing in this planning process puts CTA in position to compete for significant new federal funding."

?Expanding service on the Red, Orange and Yellow lines would serve as a catalyst for ridership growth and provide valuable connections to facilitate regional travel and promote transit-oriented development that would benefit both the City of Chicago and suburbs alike," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

Extending the Red Line from its existing south terminal at 95th Street to a new terminal at 130th Street would streamline bus-to-rail connections for 12 CTA bus routes and four Pace routes and could also connect the line with the South Shore commuter rail line and Metra's proposed SouthEast service commuter rail.

Extending the Orange Line to Ford City would complete the original Orange Line plan to provide improved access to downtown from the far southwest side and from the central city to the strong employment corridor along South Cicero Avenue.

The proposed Yellow Line extension would provide service to major destinations such as Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard, Cook County Courthouse and adjacent office, and retail and residential developments currently just beyond the reach of the existing CTA terminal on Dempster Street. Expanding service would also strengthen the reverse-commute flow along both the Yellow and Red lines, and make better use of CTA's existing service capacity.

The Alternatives Analysis studies will be conducted concurrently over the next few years.

The FTA New Starts program requires conceptual transit project proposals to proceed through a formal process of planning, design and construction. The FTA process consists of five formal steps: Alternatives Analysis, Environmental Impact Statement, Preliminary Engineering, Final Design and Construction.

FTA Formula Funds provided the funding for the $3.5 million contract, which was awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., one of the world's largest planning, engineering, and program and construction management organizations with more than 150 offices worldwide.

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