Federal funds approved for Chicago Transit Authority rail-upgrade project

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The recently submitted fiscal 2017 budget for transportation projects includes a significant amount of funds that will benefit the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA’s) new Red-Purple Modernization (RPM) Program, officials said.

Another infusion is expected from previously unused funds.

The program aims to upgrade the Red and Purple rail lines, as well as add new passenger capacity to portions of the lines that are outdated and frequently congested. This project is one of the largest in the history of the CTA, an effort to improve rail service for thousands of customers and future generations.

"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,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “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.”

The new budget from President Obama allocates $125 million to RPM, Phase 1. The funds will come from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Core Capacity Program.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will provide another $156 million in new funds that Congress had budgeted in previous years, but never appropriated. The CTA will get the funds from USDOT if it gets a full funding agreement approved by the FTA. Both funding sources would represent nearly 30 percent of the federal funding envisioned for this transformational project.

"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," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) 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."

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