As the only transit system currently accepted into the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Core Capacity Program, the CTA is poised to receive up to $120 million allocated to the program this year in the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. It was passed last week by both chambers of Congress and is on President Obama's desk for his expected signature.
The bill provides $120 million to the competitive grant fund Sen. Richard Durbin created in 2012 as a member of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Conference Committee, said the CTA in a news release. His goal was to level the playing field by allowing existing mass transit lines (or “core capacity” projects), like the CTA’s Red and Purple Lines, to compete for FTA funding under the “New Starts” grant program. Previously, only extensions or new transit lines could compete for the funding, making the vast majority of CTA projects ineligible.
CTA became the first transit system accepted into the FTA’s new Core Capacity Program in November 2013 and has begun moving forward on the environmental work necessary for design and construction of the planned rebuilding of the Red and Purple Lines.
As the only Illinois member of the House Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley used his position during the 2014 appropriations process to advocate for the Core Capacity grants. "Core capacity grants fund desperately needed improvements to heavily-used transit systems like the CTA, creating jobs and improving our infrastructure in the process," said Rep. Quigley.
Great tag-teaming here by Durbin and Quigley to secure this funding to move forward the Red and Purple Modernization Project.
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