Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the historic Red Line Extension Project has advanced into the next phase of the federal “New Starts” program, a major milestone in applying for project funding
In a significant and consequential development related to extending the Red Line on the Far South Side from 95th to 130th, the federal government today announced the Red Line Extension (RLE) project is in line for $1.973 billion in critical grant funding needed to build the project. The grant would be the largest transit infrastructure grant awarded to CTA in the agency’s history.
"Reversing decades of disinvestment starts with providing accessible transportation for all residents of this city," said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Today’s announcement serves as an important milestone for this project as we move to enhance capillary connections to create a more connected and accessible Chicago. We will continue to work with stakeholders, the state, and federal government to ensure this project is moving full steam ahead.”
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified CTA that the $3.6 billion RLE Project, which will extend the Red Line 5.6 miles to Chicago’s Far South Side, has advanced into the next phase of the federal “New Starts” program – an important step to moving the project closer to groundbreaking. CTA can now begin the “Engineering” phase of the project, which includes further design and engineering needed to build the project and identifies the federal grant dollars CTA can receive for the project once the engineering phase is completed and approved by FTA.
“Today is a great day for the South Side of Chicago,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The Far South Side has been promised for 50 years that the Red Line would be extended to the city’s southern border, and today we can say that promise is significantly closer to being met. This project brings a wealth of job and training opportunities, and it enhances the quality of life for residents who will be able to access jobs and education more easily than ever before.”
The Engineering phase of the project is expected to continue into 2024 and anticipates a funding award by the end of 2024 subject to federal review and approvals. The remaining project funding will come from a $950 million Transit TIF approved by Chicago City Council last year and other sources.
“Public transit plays a vital role in the lives of millions of Chicagoans. For many, it is the best and only option to get to work, go to school, and visit family.” said Congressman Mike Quigley. “As lead Democrat on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I’m proud to have helped bring these federal dollars back home to support the Red Line Extension project. This project is a major step in building a more equitable transit system for our city, ensuring the benefits of public transit can be utilized by communities that have historically lacked access. I look forward to continuing to work with FTA, CTA, and the Illinois congressional delegation to move this project forward.”
“Improving our infrastructure means better connecting Chicagoans to jobs, education, commerce, and opportunity. The Red Line Extension project will be transformative for South Side communities—providing an economic boost for a long-neglected area of the City and surrounding suburbs, producing an estimated 25,000 jobs in the coming years, while generating nearly $2 billion in pay to workers on the project, and more than $5 billion in total business output,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “I will continue to work alongside Senator Duckworth and state leaders to secure the resources needed to keep the Red Line Extension project on track.”
“No matter their zip code, Chicagoans deserve easier access to public transit to get to school, get to work and to more easily move throughout the city,” Senator Tammy Duckworth said. “The long-awaited extension of the Red Line to 130th Street will provide much-needed transit access for thousands of South Side residents, provide a vital economic boost to surrounding neighborhoods and create good-paying jobs. I’ll keep working to help ensure this project gets the support it needs from the federal level, and we do all that we can to help improve transit development and access for all Chicagoans.”
“Today I celebrate with the Chicago Transit Authority and the rest of Chicago on the advancement of the Red Line Extension to 130th Street,” said Rep. Danny K. Davis. (IL-07) “This Extension will greatly improve transit access and boost economic development on the South Side, making life easier for Chicagoans. I am proud to work with my colleagues in Congress to support this project that will serve approximately 100,000 people and generate billions of dollars in pay for workers and business productivity.”
"Expanding transit access to the South Side of Chicago is essential to making Chicagoland the best place to live, work, and raise a family," said Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02). "For communities that too often feel forgotten, this extension demonstrates that our leaders will not allow my district to be left behind. This extension will accelerate economic growth, create jobs, and strengthen our neighborhoods. I look forward to continuing to work closely with my colleagues in Congress and leaders here in Illinois to ensure that our communities have the resources they need to thrive."
“I am pleased to learn that the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line extension project to 130th Street is moving forward after a half-century of delays,” said Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-IL-01). “Not only will the Red Line extension create new jobs, but it will also add four new stations on the Far South Side that will directly impact my constituents, who rely on our city’s robust, 24-hour transit system to travel to work, school, and function in their day-to-day lives. The Red Line extension project is great for our city and the people of Chicago.”
“The Red Line Extension Project is critical to righting the wrongs of the past in my community,” said 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale. “Our residents deserve to be better connected to the rest of the city by not only transit but through jobs, training, and investment in their community. Today’s announcement is a positive step for the Far South Side.”
“The CTA’s Red Line Extension Project will help to address decades of disinvestment on the Far South Side,” said Andrea Reed, Executive Director of the Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce. “I am pleased that this project is moving forward and is slated to receive federal support, and I encourage CTA to continue to ensure that this project commits to creating job and training opportunities and other quality of life improvements for residents in our community.”
“CHA is proud to be a key partner working to bring transit equity to Altgeld Gardens and the broader Riverdale neighborhood by realizing the proposed Red Line extension, which will increase economic mobility and lead to transformational economic development in the community,” said Tracey Scott, CEO, Chicago Housing Authority.
This announcement follows a sustained advocacy effort from the Chicagoland Congressional Delegation, including a letter led by U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth that included U.S. Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Jesús "Chuy" García (D-IL-04), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Jonathan Jackson (D-IL-01), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Delia Ramirez (D-IL-03), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Sean Casten (D-IL-06), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08) urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to make a robust federal investment in the Red Line Extension Project.
Red Line Extension Project Overview
The RLE project will:
- Build a 5.6-mile extension of the Red Line starting at 95th Street Terminal to the vicinity of 130th Street.
- Include four new accessible stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street, each of which would include bus, bike, pedestrian and parking facilities.
- Build a new rail yard and related rail facilities to improve operational efficiency for the entire Red Line and CTA system.
The Red Line Extension Project will provide a new, more direct connection to the Red Line – this means an easier trip and less time commuting. Once the extension opens, it is expected to provide up to 30 minutes time savings to riders traveling from the future 130th Station.
Project benefits for surrounding communities:
- An award-winning RLE Transit-Supportive Development (TSD) Plan in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD). The Plan is a proactive effort to guide the future development of the long-disinvested communities located near the RLE project area, and it reflects the vision of those who currently reside and conduct business in these communities.
- Is expected to bring more than 25,000 jobs to Cook County in future years.
- Includes opportunities for workforce training and jobs and participation in the project by small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-certified small businesses.
- CTA supports DBEs through efforts including the Building Small Business program and partnerships with its construction contractors.
Preliminary project renderings can be found here. For more information about the Red Line Extension Project, visit transitchicago.com/rle.