Federal DOT also announces new funding for historic project to completely rebuild and add passenger capacity to congested, outdated sections of Red, Purple lines
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., today announced two significant funding boosts for the CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization Program, one of the largest projects in CTA history that will modernize the CTA’s Red and Purple Lines and benefit generations of future CTA customers.
Earlier today, President Obama’s proposed federal fiscal 2017 budget included $125 million of funding in 2017 for RPM Phase 1 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Core Capacity Program, supported by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2012 as a member of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Conference Committee.
Also, today, the U.S. Department of Transportation allocated a separate $156 million in new funding provided by Congress, which had been budgeted for in previous years but never appropriated. The CTA will receive the $156 million from the USDOT if it gets a full-funding agreement approved by the FTA, which the CTA is seeking. Combined, the two funding sources represent nearly 30 percent of the federal funding envisioned for this transformational project.
CTA previously received $35 million of federal Core Capacity funding in 2014 after it became the first transit system accepted into the new Core Capacity Program in 2013, part of $956.6 million CTA is seeking in total Core Capacity funds for Phase 1. That $35 million in funding allowed the CTA to complete the environmental planning and preliminary engineering work in 2015 for the first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization project.
"Chicago's future depends on our ability to continue modernizing and improving a 21st century transportation system that keeps up with our growing economy and creates local jobs,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I thank President Obama for his leadership and commitment to investment in one of the nation’s busiest rail corridors. I’m also very grateful to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for recognizing the importance of this project and the jobs and transit improvements it will bring to the Chicago region.”
"I worked to establish the Core Capacity program because I believe that repairing and expanding old public transit systems is just as important as establishing new ones," Senator Durbin said. "Robust federal funding for this program will help the CTA double the capacity of its most used rail lines. The federal investments we are making today put us in the best position to provide world-class mass transit services in the future."
RPM’s Phase 1 is the first of multiple phases of the RPM Program, which will replace nearly century-old infrastructure and stations along Chicago’s busiest rail line with modern tracks, signals and stations that are fully accessible. The RPM Program will add much needed capacity to a growing residential and commercial corridor, and deliver faster and smoother rides with less crowding and more frequent service.
Phase 1 of the project includes four station reconstructions (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr), reconstruction of track structure and viaducts (including some that are more than 100 years old), and the construction of a rail bypass north of Belmont station to increase rail capacity and alleviate train congestion.
“We thank the President for including RPM in the 2017 budget and his recognition that this critical project will benefit millions of customers for generations,” said President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “In addition to Sen. Durbin, I want to thank Sen. Kirk, Rep. Mike Quigley, Rep. Dan Lipinski, Rep. Jan Schakowsky and the rest of the Illinois congressional delegation for their support of RPM, as well as Secretary Foxx and Acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan for their extensive support and guidance as the planning for this project has evolved. We’re pleased that the recognition of how important RPM is to the Chicago area’s regional economy is bringing the CTA closer to providing project benefits that include modern, fully accessible stations and brand-new track structures that improve service and will accommodate growing ridership in this rapidly growing corridor.”
The RPM project also reached another milestone recently, when the CTA received approval in December 2015 by the FTA for the project to move into what’s called the Engineering Phase, the next major stage that immediately precedes the start of construction.
The CTA’s next steps for the RPM project include finalizing the funding plan for Phase 1, which will include a mix federal and local funding sources, applying for federal project funding, and selecting a contractor to design and build the project. Like the successful reconstruction of the Red Line South in 2013, the RPM project is expected to create local, good-paying jobs for Chicagoans.
Additionally, the CTA intends to move forward with its promise to encourage redevelopment in the Red and Purple corridor as part of Phase 1. The CTA will seek a consultant in 2016 to work with local communities and elected officials to develop a Transit Oriented Development Plan for parcels located in the Lawrence-Bryn Mawr and Red-Purple Bypass project areas as part of its commitment to encouraging economic development as part of the RPM program. The CTA learned it would receive $1.25 million in funding through FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Planning Program last fall.
RPM Phase 1 is estimated to cost $2.131 billion. Construction schedules will be developed when project funding is secured and a contractor is hired. For more information about RPM, visit www.transitchicago.com/rpmproject/.