April 13, 2004

Today, Mayor Richard M. Daley was joined by federal, state and local officials and the CTA in celebrating a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Chicago Transit Authority. The agreement assures the federal government's financial support for expanding capacity of the CTA's Brown Line. Officials held the celebration at Ann Sather's Restaurant near the Brown Line's Belmont station.

"With funding for this $530 million CTA project now locked in, we will be able to take another step in our commitment to improve neighborhood quality of life and public transportation for CTA riders and all the people of Chicago," remarked Mayor Daley.

"Public transportation not only plays an important role in connecting communities and helping people all over the Chicago area get where they need to go easily, it's also critical to our efforts to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, and is becoming increasingly valuable as commuters look for ways to avoid high gas prices," said Governor Blagojevich.

"This agreement is the result of tremendous cooperation between federal, state and local elected officials and the CTA," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown. 'such bipartisan support for public transit and confidence in the CTA is vital to bringing our system into a state of good repair."

?We have been able to accomplish a great deal in the past few years thanks to the strong support of Senator Richard Durbin, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Congressman William Lipiniski, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Governor Rod Blagojevich, Mayor Richard M. Daley, our city and state legislative leaders and the entire Illinois legislative delegation. They all recognize that an investment in public transit contributes to a strong regional economy," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

The federal government's $423.1 million funding contribution to the $530 million Brown Line project is a combination of $245.5 million in New Starts funding and $177.6 million from Formula funds. CTA already received a portion of these funds from appropriations in FY 00 to FY 04. The FFGA assures the remaining contribution ? $344.5 million between now and FY 09.

Non-federal funding in the amount of $106.8 million is being provided for the project by the Regional Transportation Authority, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the CTA.

"This Full Funding Grant Agreement is good for the City, and a tremendous victory for Chicago's families and businesses. For more than a century, the Brown Line has served as a vital artery to the neighborhoods andbusinesses of the Northside, and this money will ensure that the CTA has the funds it needs to fully reconstruct the Brown Line," added Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

The FTA provides Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) for New Starts capital investment transit projects that are locally planned, implemented and operated.The New Starts program funds capital construction projects for transit systems across the country. These rail and bus investments, in turn, have improved the mobility of millions of Americans, helped to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the areas they serve, and have fostered the development of viable, safer and more livable communities. The agreement establishes terms and conditions for federal financial participation in a project.

The CTA is currently out to bid to select a construction contractor for the project. When CTA breaks ground on the Brown Line project later this year, it will become the largest capital improvement project in its history. Operating between downtown and the Northwest Side, the Brown Line was originally constructed in two phases opening for service in 1900 and 1907. The line is the third busiest of CTA's rail lines, serving more than 66,000 customers each weekday, with 19 stations from Kimball on the north to the downtown Chicago Loop.

The scope of the project includes: increasing capacity by lengthening station platforms to accommodate eight-car rather than six-car trains, upgrading or replacing traction power, signal and communication equipment, and rebuilding stations including making each one accessible to all CTA customers, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Since the mid-1990s, CTA has made operational changes to accommodate the growing demand for service along the Brown Line, however, expanding the platforms to accommodate eight-car trains will provide the capacity needed to better serve CTA customers as well as accommodate future growth along the line.

This is the second Full Funding Grant Agreement the FTA has awarded to the CTA. CTA received an FFGA for the rehabilitation of the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line. The project broke ground September 10, 2001 and will be completed in January 2005.

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