Proposed balanced budget maintains current fares, adds service; capital spending plan continues historic investment in modernization
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool today proposed a balanced $1.44 billion budget that, for the fourth year in a row, maintains or improves transit service levels and holds the line on base fares, while continuing historic investment in projects and programs to improve the customer experience and modernize regional transit.
“I congratulate Forrest Claypool and the team at CTA for presenting another strong budget,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This spending plan not only maintains vital transit service in neighborhoods across the city, it continues unprecedented investment to modernize the system to benefit riders today while building a strong foundation for the future.”
The 2015 proposed budget includes expanded rail service to meet growing rail ridership, expected to increase by over 2 million rides in 2015. Additional rail service for 2015 includes additional morning and evening rush-hour trips on the Red, Blue, Brown and Orange Lines, as well as additional service on other lines.
The agency in 2015 will continue with the more than $5 billion in system-improvement projects completed, begun or announced since 2011, including rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones, modernizing rail and bus fleets, adding new technologies to improve the commuting experience, and bringing the agency’s massive infrastructure into a state of good repair to improve reliability and safety. For the fourth year in a row, the CTA will not transfer capital funds to cover operating costs.
“After inheriting a $308 million deficit in 2011, we have presented four straight years of balanced budgets,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We’ve done so by taking a close look at every facet of our organization to determine what’s working well and what isn’t. We’ve implemented many management reforms that have reduced waste and trimmed spending, while upholding service and fare levels for our customers and creating permanent jobs that better serve passengers.”
The CTA continues its strong financial performance despite the negative effects of state budget cuts and higher unfunded state mandates for everything from health care and pension costs to free and discounted rides.
The CTA is continuing its historic level of investment in its bus and rail systems under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel and follows the CTA’s successful delivery of a brand new Red Line South railroad in 2013 on time and on budget that benefits 80,000 daily Red Line South commuters.
Work is under way on a new 95th Street Terminal, a $240 million project that will expand and upgrade the 95th/Dan Ryan station, creating more than 700 jobs, connecting Far South Side communities to job centers throughout the region and serving as a transit gateway for the South Side and suburbs.
Work has also begun on the reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station into a modern Red-Purple transfer station, and continues on the new Cermak/McCormick Place station on the Green Line—projects that benefit customers and will boost local economic development in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
In 2015, the CTA will continue its $71.2 million Ravenswood Connector project to significantly upgrade track and related rail structure between the Chicago and Armitage stations on the elevated Brown and Purple Express lines, providing more comfortable and reliable rides for customers.
Total ridership on the CTA is expected to grow in 2015 from this year to increase to 522.5 million in 2015, the eighth consecutive year of ridership exceeding a half-billion rides and the second-largest ridership of all public transit agencies in the country. The projected ridership represents an increase of 0.7 percent from 2014’s expected total ridership.
A public hearing will be held on Monday, November 17, 2014, at 6 p.m. at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, second floor conference room, Chicago, Illinois, 60661.
The CTA’s full budget will be posted online at www.transitchicago.com.