Proposed balanced spending plan freezes fares and preserves service levels; capital spending plan continues historic investment in modernization
The Chicago Transit Authority today proposed a balanced $1.475 billion operating budget that—for the fifth year in a row—holds the line on base fares and maintains or improves service, while continuing historic investment to modernize the CTA and improve the customer experience.
“CTA’s budget proposal builds on our unprecedented investments to modernize and improve Chicago’s transit system,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “CTA provides vital transit services for millions of riders each year, and the proposed budget continues to invest in efforts to better serve Chicagoans across the entire city.”
The 2016 budget introduces, builds on and accelerates several new initiatives, service improvements and technology upgrades to benefit riders and improve the customer experience.
Additionally, the agency in 2016 will continue with the more than $5 billion in system-improvement projects completed, begun or announced by Mayor Emanuel 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 a fifth straight year, the CTA will not transfer capital funds to cover operating costs.
“Over the last four years, Mayor Emanuel’s investment in Chicago transit has provided CTA customers with improved, more reliable and affordable transit service, and I am committed to continuing that work,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Equally important with keeping up with meeting the needs of our customers is to continually find ways to do so more efficiently and cost-effectively. I look forward to continuing the many improvements the CTA has made thus far, and exploring new and even better ways to provide vital transit services to our customers.”
CTA customers in 2016 can look forward to many new and enhanced services:
- The new Ventra app, launching in 2015, that will seamlessly integrate fare payment across CTA, Metra and Pace
- 4G wireless through CTA’s 22 miles of subway tunnels
- Return of express bus service to Western and Ashland, two of three of CTA’s busiest bus routes
- Launch of Loop Link, better connecting 30,000 bus customers to the Loop each weekday with faster, more efficient service
- Continuing to pursue next-generation rail cars, the 7000-series, to provide a more modern, reliable rail fleet as rail ridership grows
- Overhauling or replacing nearly CTA’s entire fleet of buses
- Continuing to grow advertising revenue to offset operating costs and keep fares affordable for customers
Among the capital projects to continue or begin in 2016:
- Your New Blue program will continue to upgrade the Blue Line O’Hare branch with improvements of five more stations, including a new elevator at Addison
- Continuation of the complete reconstructions of the 95th Street and Wilson stations on the Red Line—transforming decades-old stations into modern transit hubs
- Work on the new Washington-Wabash station will continue which will replace two century-old stations and serve as a gateway to Millennium Park and the Loop
- Accessibility improvements to the historic Quincy Loop ‘L’ station
- Continuation of planning for the Red-Purple Modernization and Red Line Extension, projects
- Continuing signal improvements to modernize Brown and Purple Express tracks between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart stations
Continuing its efforts to streamline management and non-union personnel, the CTA will eliminate 100 positions in non-customer-facing areas, maintaining a lean management-to-worker ratio.
The 2016 budget projects a 0.7 percent growth in ridership, continuing an upward trend in 2015, which was on pace to show a 0.2 percent growth in ridership and another record year for rail ridership.
A public hearing will be held on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 6 p.m. at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, second floor conference room, Chicago, Illinois, 60661.
Written and oral comments will be taken into consideration prior to Chicago Transit Board action. This input will be welcomed at the hearing or by correspondence addressed to Gregory P. Longhini, Assistant Secretary of the Board, Chicago Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, Illinois 60680-7567. Comments also may be submitted in writing either via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax: 312-681-5035. The deadline to submit written comments is 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 17.
The proposed budget is available for public review at the CTA Headquarters reception desk, second floor, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Copies are also available for review in standard size print and large print at the main office of the Regional Transportation Authority, reception desk, Suite 1650, 175 West Jackson, Chicago, Illinois, 60604; at the Archer Heights Branch Library, 5055 South Archer Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60632; Austin Branch Library, 5615 West Race Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60644; Harold Washington Public Library, 400 South State Street, 5th floor, Chicago, Illinois, 60605; Jefferson Park Branch Library, 5363 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60630; South Shore Branch Library, 2505 East 73rd Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649; Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60625; West Town Branch Library, 1625 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60622; Woodson Regional Public Library, 9525 South Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60628; Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, 60201; Evergreen Park Public Library, 9400 South Troy, Evergreen Park, Illinois, 60805; Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois 60301; Riverdale Public Library, 208 West 144th Street, Riverdale, Illinois, 60827; and at the Skokie Public Library, 5215 West Oakton, Skokie, Illinois, 60077.
A copy of the proposed budget is also posted on the CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com.
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