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CTA's 2003 budget proposal freezes fares, continues capital projects

On Oct. 9, Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi presented his fiscal-year 2003 budget proposal, which doesn’t include fare increases or service cuts, despite the weak economy.

"This budget was developed after a year of meeting financial challenges," said Kruesi in a prepared statement. "Through discipline and careful management, we have been able to develop a balanced budget for 2003."

The budget includes $924.6 million for operating expenses, which would be 1.1 percent higher than this year’s. CTA expects ridership and revenue to grow 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, compared with this year’s forecast. And public funding is expected to increase 2.7 percent.

The budget’s $539 million capital improvement plan would enable CTA to continue rehabilitating the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Brown Line, as well as expand the Brown Line’s capacity, renovate of eight station on the Dan Ryan Branch of the Red Line, reconfigure of Harrison Curve, upgrade the signal and communications system at Clark Junction, and select a manufacturer for new elevated rail cars.

CTA has solicited bids for up to 406 rail cars, which would replace one-third of the agency’s current rail fleet.

Officials said the system requires about $5 billion during the next five years to bring it to a state of good repair. So far, CTA’s identified $3.1 billion in funding, but must secure an additional $1.9 billion to meet its needs.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/11/2002