CTA to Issue Bonds to Complete Purchase of New Rail Cars

February 10, 2010

The Chicago Transit Board today approved an ordinance authorizing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to issue revenue bonds that will allow the agency to purchase 406 rail cars. When the procurement began in 2006, CTA programmed the issuance of bonds as part of its capital spending. The agency now will move forward with those plans. The amount for the bonds is not to exceed $550 million. The total cost of the rail cars is $674 million.

“Now that all the prototypes have arrived and are undergoing internal testing, we are preparing our cash flow to complete the financing,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “The new rail cars are much needed as CTA looks to upgrade its fleet and infrastructure to better serve our customers.”
In 2006, CTA ordered 406 new rail cars. The contract contains additional options that could bring the total purchase to 706 cars. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) also provided some capital funding for the rail cars.
The rail cars will replace older rail cars that are 30 to 40 years old, such as the 2200-series Budd cars that were purchased in 1969-70, as well as the 2400-series Boeing-Vertol cars purchased in 1976-78. 
“The replacement of aging, outdated equipment is key to operating a transit system as large as CTA,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “These rail cars will be a welcome upgrade to CTA’s fleet and will go a long way in improving service reliability.”
The new rail cars—the prototypes of which are undergoing testing on CTA’s system—have upgraded features such as security cameras, aisle-facing seating and AC, or alternating current, traction motor propulsion.  Using the AC system will allow the agency to reduce the costs associated with maintaining the outdated DC (direct current) system.
CTA’s last rail car purchase was in the 1990s when 3200-series cars were purchased for the opening of the Orange Line, and to replace older cars on the Brown and Yellow Lines. 
Through a competitive RFP process, CTA selected Bombardier Transit Corporation located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for the contract.   
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