CTA Board approves 2017 operating, capital budgets

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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CTA’s Wilson Station is undergoing reconstruction, which should be complete in 2017.
CTA

The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Board has approved a $1.524 billion operating budget that maintains current fares and preserves bus and rail service levels.  

 

Representatives say the approved budget will also allow for continued investments in the modernization of the CTA.

“CTA’s budget demonstrates our commitment to enhancing bus and rail service and the community experience for our customers, while continuing to operate in a financially sound manner,” said CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “As the nation’s second-largest transit agency, CTA provides vital transit services for millions of riders every year. I am pleased that this responsible, structurally sound budget continues our efforts to better serve Chicagoans across our city and our service area.”

The CTA Board also approved a $3.5 billion five-year capital budget for 2017–2021, continuing more than $5 billion of transit investment completed, begun or announced since 2011. The capital budget allocates funding toward the rehabilitation of rail stations and for building new stations, modernizing rail and bus fleets, removing rail slow zones and adding new technologies to improve reliability, reduce commuting times and strengthen safety measures.

“We are pleased to offer a budget that is truly all about providing excellent service to our customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This budget invests in safe, affordable and reliable transit as well as enhancing the customer experience, while controlling expenses and seeking ways to increase revenue beyond the farebox to support day-to-day operations.” 

Representatives say the CTA’s 2017 operating budget is structurally balanced for the sixth consecutive year. The 2017 budget freezes base fares for an eighth year and continues the expanded transit service that rolled out in 2015 and 2016. The agency says it will continue to emphasize growing revenue through advertising, retail concessions and other non-fare related sources.

The CTA has maintained stable fares by pursuing efficiencies and cost savings through reduced ongoing maintenance costs following the modernization of the CTA’s bus and rail fleet, pre-purchasing diesel fuel and electricity at lower levels and through other cost savings efforts, representatives say.

The CTA will continue or begin several projects in 2017, including several capital projects that will tout distinct architecture and public art contributed by noteworthy local and international artists.

 

Projects slated for completion:

 

  • Wilson Station Reconstruction Project
  • Washington-Wabash station
  • Overhaul of 3200-series rail cars on Orange, Brown lines
  • Renovation of Quincy Loop and Illinois Medical District Blue Line stations

 

Projects starting in 2017:

 

  • Select a final alignment for a proposed Red Line Extension from 95th Street to 130th Street and perform additional project engineering work
  • Continuing work, including possibly pre-construction work by the end of 2017, on Phase 1 of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which includes rebuilding four Red Line stations and constructing a rail bypass
  • Belmont Blue Gateway project

 

Continuing projects:

 

  • New 95th Street Terminal
  • Your New Blue program to upgrade the Blue Line O’Hare branch
  • Ravenswood Corridor signal improvements to benefit Brown, Purple Express between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart stations
  • Expand CTA Transit Tracker
  • Develop new features on the Ventra fare payment app
  • Continue working closely with the federal government to implement the nation’s first Safety Management System Program

 

A copy of the 2017 budget is available here. (www.transitchicago.com.)

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