Metra, a passenger rail service that connects the Chicago suburbs to the city of Chicago, announced a record-breaking capital investment over the next five years. The financial boost comes with no increase in train fares.
With the help of Illinois’ recently passed capital bill, Metra expects to spend $2.6 billion through 2025. It will be the largest investment in Metra history. In 2020, the commuter line is looking to invest just over $331 million in new railcars and locomotives, locomotive and car rehabilitation, stations and parking, yard rehabilitation and bridges. Metra has almost 500 bridges that have been in operation for more than 100 years. A portion of the $22.6 million will go towards the next phase of the UP North bridge project that includes the design and replacement of bridges that cross over 11 streets between Fullerton and Addison in Chicago. Yard rehabilitation at the Western Avenue Yard, the North Central Service and Heritage Corridor and the California Avenue Yard will expand Metra’s service capacity.
Metra also will be leaner in the coming years. The passenger rail service identified $6 million in system efficiencies and will save another $12 million by not filling vacancies and by reducing overtime and other expenses. Metra will use the $18 million to offset a $23 million increase in operating expenses in 2020. A portion of the increase will help the rail service implement Positive Train Control.
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