Red Line Extension Project to 130th Street Moves Forward; CTA Announces Next Steps in Historic Project as Part of Mayor Emanuel’s ‘Red Ahead’ Transit Investment

September 29, 2016

CTA to seek public comment on comprehensive plan to extend rail service to 130th Street and improve transit service on the Far South Side

The Chicago Transit Authority today announced a series of upcoming events that will advance the Red Line Extension Project, a plan to extend Red Line rail service to 130th Street from 95th Street including building four new rail stations that will provide rail access to the Far South Side.

The Red Line Extension Project is a key part of Mayor Emanuel and CTA’s “Red Ahead” investment in its busiest rail line. Other projects improving the Red Line on the South Side include the $425 million reconstruction of the Red Line South in 2013 and the ongoing $280 million construction of a new 95th Street Terminal, which will be completed in 2018. The project is expected to create 29,000 new direct, indirect and induced jobs.

“We are pleased to make progress on this transformational Red Line project, which will expand transit for the Far South Side and create faster access to jobs, education and opportunity,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “As we move forward in the comprehensive federally required planning process for this project, we continue to make significant investment in the South Side that include the new 95th Terminal, improved Red and Green Line service and expanded bus service on multiple routes to better serve our customers.”

The CTA two years ago narrowed the potential Red Line Extension Project alternatives to one “preferred alternative” with two possible options – one east and one west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on the South Side -- and announced $5 million of funding to continue planning work for the project.

Today, the CTA announced the following developments related to the Red Line Extension Project:

  • The CTA will publish a comprehensive Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS), a requirement for obtaining federal funding for this historic project, on October 6, 2016. The Draft EIS is an extensive document that details the potential benefits and impacts of both proposed options for the project.
  • The CTA will accept formal comments from the public as part of the federal Draft EIS between October 6 and November 30 (more than 45 days), encouraging feedback from the community about any aspect of the project. The feedback will be used to assist the CTA in future planning decisions, including selecting one of the two alignment options for the project.
  • The CTA will also hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a location to be determined, inviting the public to learn more about the project, including asking questions and providing comments to CTA staff.
  • The CTA will also begin to notify property owners whose property may be necessary to acquire for the project. The CTA is not yet acquiring properties for the Red Line Extension Project because it has not yet selected a final alignment, nor has it secured federal funding for the project.

The RLE project is Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Dorval Carter’s plan to extend the Red Line from the existing 95th Street Terminal to the vicinity of 130th Street. The 5.3-mile extension would include four new stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street, each of which would include bus and parking facilities. The current estimated cost of the project is $2.3 billion.

Proposed alignment options for Red Line extension

In August 2014, the CTA narrowed the list of extension alternatives to one “preferred alternative” with two variations:

The proposed alignment of the rapid transit line would be the same for the two East and West options from 95th Street to 99th Street and from 118th Street to 130th Street. The Red Line Extension would run along elevated track from 95th Street to approximately 119th Street, where it would transition to at-grade tracks.

The CTA arrived at these options based on environmental analysis and comments received at the public open house meeting and public comments submitted in 2014.

Draft EIS and public comment

The public can review the Draft EIS online at transitchicago.com/redeis starting October 6th. Hard copies will be available at local libraries and CTA headquarters. The Draft EIS provides information about the project, its impacts and mitigations. The public is invited to provide feedback and ask questions.

Hard copies of the Draft EIS will be available at the following locations:

  • CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60661
  • Pullman Public Library, 11001 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628
  • West Pullman Public Library, 830 W. 119th Street, Chicago, IL 60643
  • Altgeld Public Library, 13281 S. Corliss Avenue, Chicago, IL 60827
  • Woodson Regional Public Library, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60628
  • Calumet Park Public Library, 1500 W. 127th Street, Calumet Park, IL 60827
  • Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605

Once the formal review period is complete on November 30, 2016, CTA will review and respond to all the comments received. 

Responses to comments will be provided in the Final EIS, which will include the CTA’s analysis of the final proposed project alignment.

Outreach to property owners

The CTA will communicate with all potentially impacted property owners via a number of channels:

  • Letters will be mailed to every property owner that could be potentially displaced by the project (either the East or West Option). Those letters will also communicate that the CTA is not yet able to make a final determination on which properties will be required to be acquired for the project.
  • CTA staff will visit every potentially displaced building.
  • Property owners can submit project feedback on the Draft EIS, which will provide addresses of potentially displaced properties, via email, regular mail and at the public hearing.
  • CTA will attend meetings as requested by community members and elected officials to share information.
  • CTA’s web site, transitchicago.com/redeis, will continue to provide project information and updates. The public can also sign up for project update emails by contacting us at RedExtension@transitchicago.com.

Red Line Extension Project: Next steps

  • Based on public feedback, environmental review and funding availability to conduct additional engineering work, CTA anticipates announcing the preferred option for the location of the extension of the project in 2017.
  • Depending on funding availability and federal regulatory approvals, CTA anticipates publishing a Final EIS by the end of 2018, which will provide a comprehensive analysis of the project’s impacts.
  • Once CTA has completed the Final EIS process, as required by the federal government before it would provide federal funding for the project, CTA could then begin the process of securing funding, which is expected to include a mix of federal and local funds. That could include the creation of a special transit-only tax-increment financing district, authorized by the General Assembly in June 2016, which could provide local funding for the Red Line Extension Project.

 

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