CTA partners with Cook County Land Bank Authority in latest step to advance the highly anticipated and transformational Far South Side transit investment
The Chicago Transit Board today approved two new measures that will allow the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to begin the process of acquiring previously identified properties needed as part of the highly anticipated Red Line Extension project – one of the most critical investments in CTA’s history, and a transformative investment for Chicago and its Far South Side communities.
The planned $3.6 billion RLE project will extend the Red Line 5.6 miles from the existing southern terminal at 95th Street to 130th Street, while also providing long-awaited and much needed connection to jobs, education, and commerce, while also serving as a catalyst for economic development. As part of construction work, four new accessible rail stations will be added, plus a new a modern, efficient railcar storage yard and maintenance facility that will benefit users of the entire Red Line.
Completion of the RLE project is dependent on securing funding, but today’s Board action allows CTA to commence the process of negotiating and purchasing up to 216 previously identified property parcels, of which 103 are privately owned. Of the privately owned parcels, 64 are occupied and either commercial or residential. CTA informed property owners approximately six years ago of the possible acquisitions.
The Red Line Extension plans were designed to minimize the amount of private property needed for construction. Commencing these acquisition efforts now will help expedite overall project development and ensure CTA maintains its timeline to begin construction as early as 2025.
To aid in the property acquisition process, also approved today was a new intergovernmental agreement between the CTA and the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA). As part of this agreement, CTA will pay the CCLBA up to $3.83 million for the acquisition, holding and maintaining of the 55 vacant parcels, until it is ready to take ownership.
CTA will adhere to the guidelines of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, along with state and federal statutes, to assure full protection of the rights of each property owner. Among other requirements, these guidelines state that CTA must offer at least fair market value for any property it seeks to acquire, as well as provide financial assistance and relocation services for those who must move because of the RLE Project.
CTA’s outreach team continues to work with both property owners and tenants within the communities regarding next steps. Coordination for pre-acquisition activities is ongoing. CTA will continue working with a dedicated team of community liaisons as it moves forward with the RLE planning process.