Chicago Transit Board Approves 2017 CTA Operating, Capital Budgets

November 16, 2016

Balanced spending plan will maintain fares and preserve enhanced service levels; capital spending plan continues bus, rail modernization efforts

The Chicago Transit Board today approved a $1.524 billion operating budget that holds the line on fares and preserves bus and rail service levels, while continuing historic investment to modernize the CTA and improve the customer experience.

“CTA’s budget demonstrates our commitment to enhancing bus and rail service and the community experience for our customers, while continuing to operate in a financially sound manner,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “As the nation’s second-largest transit agency, CTA provides vital transit services for millions of riders every year. I am pleased that this responsible, structurally sound budget continues our efforts to better serve Chicagoans across our city and our service area.”

The Chicago Transit Board also approved a $3.5 billion five-year capital budget for 2017-2021, continuing more than $5 billion of historic transit investment completed, begun or announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel since 2011. The capital budget provides funding for rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones, 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.

“We are pleased to offer a budget that is truly all about providing excellent service to our customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This budget invests in safe, affordable and reliable transit as well as enhancing the customer experience, while controlling expenses and seeking ways to increase revenue beyond the farebox to support day-to-day operations.”

CTA’s 2017 operating budget is structurally balanced for the sixth straight year. The 2017 budget freezes base fares for an eighth year and continues the expanded transit service begun in 2015 and 2016. The agency continues to focus on growing revenue through advertising, retail concessions and other non-fare related sources.

The CTA has been able to keep fares stable by strategically pursuing efficiencies and cost savings through reductions in ongoing maintenance costs from modernizing CTA’s bus and rail fleet, pre-purchasing diesel fuel and electricity at historically low levels and through responsible spending practices.

CTA will continue or begin several projects in 2017. Many of the capital projects will feature distinctive architecture and public art from notable Chicago and international artists, part of ongoing efforts to make public transportation more attractive and to highlight communities:

Projects to be completed:

  • Wilson Station Reconstruction Project
  • Washington-Wabash station
  • Overhaul of 3200-series rail cars on Orange, Brown lines
  • Renovation of Quincy Loop and Illinois Medical District Blue Line stations

Starting in 2017:

  • Select a final alignment for a proposed Red Line Extension from 95th Street to 130th Street and perform additional project engineering work
  • Continuing work, including possibly pre-construction work by the end of 2017, on Phase 1 of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which includes rebuilding four Red Line stations and constructing a rail bypass
  • Belmont Blue Gateway project

Continuing projects:

  • New 95th Street Terminal
  • Your New Blue program to upgrade the Blue Line O’Hare branch
  • Ravenswood Corridor signal improvements to benefit Brown, Purple Express between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart stations
  • Expand CTA Transit Tracker
  • Develop new features on the Ventra fare payment app launched a year ago, which last month surpassed 1 million downloads
  • Continue working closely with the federal government to implement the nation’s first Safety Management System Program, designed to enhance the culture of safety among the agency’s 11,000 employees.

A copy of the 2017 budget is also posted on the CTA's web site at transitchicago.com.

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