Balanced budgets will maintain current bus and rail service, continue modernization and investment in CTA bus and rail system
The Chicago Transit Board today approved a $1.51 billion operating budget that preserves bus and rail service levels, while continuing historic investments to modernize the CTA and improve the customer experience. Following a reduction of $33 million in state support for CTA’s 2018 budget, the board approved a spending plan that makes significant cuts and reforms, and includes a modest increase in CTA’s base fare and the price of a 30-day pass.
“CTA’s budget demonstrates our commitment to financial stability, and maintaining and investing in the quality bus and rail service that our customers expect and deserve, in spite of state budget cuts and other challenges the agency faces,” 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 $2.7 billion five-year capital budget for 2018-2022, continuing more than $8 billion of historic transit investment completed, begun or announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel since 2011. Those projects include 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.
“Our balanced budget for 2018 reflects CTA’s commitment to modernizing and improving its bus and rail system for our customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We have been able to offer a responsible budget for 2018 by making tough decisions that included finding $23 million in savings and reforms and making the first increase in base fares in nearly a decade, all of which allow us to continue to preserve bus and rail service that our customers depend on. And we’ll continue to invest and modernize CTA with the help of new money from ride-hailing fees, thanks to the support and leadership of Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago City Council.”
Operating budget highlights
- Preserves bus and rail service, including expanded bus and rail service put into place in recent years. Includes additional service begun in 2017 on six bus routes on the South Side and during rush periods on Red, Blue, Green and Purple lines.
- Budget includes $23 million of savings and reforms, including eliminating 45 vacant positions and freezing 70 positions ($12.5 million); locking in low fuel and power prices ($4.7 million) and holding the line on contractual expenses and increasing advertising/concession revenue (more than $5 million).
- Increase in base fare, first in nine years, of 25 cents to $2.25 bus/$2.50 rail; 10-cent and 15-cent increases in reduced fares to $1.10/bus and $1.25/rail; $5 increase in 30-day unlimited-ride pass price. All other fares and passes—including student fares—remain at the current price.
Since 2011, CTA has focused on identifying cost savings and implementing operational efficiencies through our organization—resulting in nearly $300 million in savings.
CTA capital budget highlights
CTA in 2018 will continue to pursue long-term priorities which focus on improving service to customers. CTA’s capital budget for 2018-2022 includes support for capital improvement projects via the City of Chicago’s ride-hailing fee—the first such fee of its kind in the United States—which is dedicated solely to transit capital investment. Due to the absence of a state capital program and with competition for federal funding increasing, this new source of funding is critical to allow CTA to continue investing in the modernization of its infrastructure.
The ride-hailing fee will fund two important CTA initiatives: FastTracks, which includes track improvements to provide faster, smoother trips that will save up to six minutes per trip; and Safe and Secure, which includes security camera expansion and upgrades; lighting improvements and other repairs.
Among the capital projects to continue or begin in 2018:
- Continuation of the complete reconstruction of the 95th Street Terminal on the Red Line
- Continuation of work on the $2.1 billion first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which includes rebuilding four Red Line stations, and track and signal systems, and constructing a rail bypass to meet current and future capacity needs
- Select a final alignment for a proposed Red Line Extension from 95th Street to 130th Street and perform additional project engineering work
- Your New Blue program to upgrade the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line
- Ravenswood Corridor signal improvements to benefit Brown, Purple Express between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart stations
- Upgrades and accessibility improvements to Quincy Loop ‘L’ station and Illinois Medical District Blue Line stations
- Belmont Blue Gateway project, which includes architecturally enhancing the street-level entrance to the Belmont subway station, and improving the bus arrival/departure areas
- Garfield Green Gateway project, which includes station and streetscape improvements
- Complete overhaul of 3200-series rail cars currently on Orange, Brown lines
- Continue overhaul of more than 200 articulated buses that serve some of the city’s busiest routes
- Many capital projects include 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