More than two years ago, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Jobs Now bill, promising about $900 million in much-needed capital-repair cash for the CTA.
Now he's starting to follow through on that promise with Thursday's announcement of $646 million to repair and rebuild the Red Line and make much-needed improvements on the Purple Line.
From Mayor Emanuel's press release:
Today’s announcement from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan brings the total state investment to $702.4 million for the Red and Purple Lines to date. Combined with $255.5 million in federal funding and $44.1 million from the city, the total over $1 billion investment in the Red Line will rebuild sections of deteriorated tracks to eliminate slow zones, replace or repair aging stations, install new power systems to improve performance and upgrade a significant portion of the Purple Line. Construction starts in 2012 and will last three years.
Some highlights among the Red Line improvements are plans to replace the tracks between 18th and 95th streets and provide upgrades to stations between Cermak and 95th Streets. Currently, almost 35 percent of the Dan Ryan branch is limited to speeds of less than 35 mph, with almost 20 percent of the branch restricted to a top speed of 15 mph. Without the investment made by Governor Quinn today, more than 60 percent of the Dan Ryan branch would operate under slow zones in 2012.
Further north, the Wilson and Clark/Division stations, along with the surrounding track, will be rebuilt. The ventilation system will be upgraded on the underground portion of the Red Line through downtown Chicago. Three electrical substations will be upgraded to improve reliability and ensure that service levels can be maintained. In addition to the work on the Red Line, ties will be replaced on the Purple Line track between the Belmont and Linden stations, eliminating slow zones on the 24 percent of the express service that is forced to operate at a maximum of 35 mph or less.
This is great news for both sides of town. But there's still plenty of work to be done north of Addison on the Red Line. So that's the next challenge for our fearless leaders. Find a few billion dollars to fund the Red Line Modernization Project.