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6/21/2013


Rail News: Passenger Rail
Chicago Transit Authority to analyze future of Blue Line's West Side branch



The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) plans to launch a Blue Line Forest Park Branch Feasibility/Vision Study to assess future needs for the branch between the Clinton and Forest Park stations, agency officials announced yesterday.

The study will be part of a long-range planning strategy for a modernized rail line and could stimulate new economic development for the West Side along the Eisenhower Expressway, CTA officials said in a press release.

The study will be funded with local and federal dollars, the latter of which was secured by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The analysis is being performed in coordination with the village of Oak Park, which has contributed local funding to analyze livability issues near Blue Line stations in Oak Park and in Chicago, as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation's (IDOT) studies in the corridor, CTA officials said.

"Leveraging federal funds for the Blue Line project will help attract economic investment and sustainable development to the city's West Side and to Oak Park, while creating and retaining local jobs," Durbin said.

The Blue Line analysis will be coordinated with IDOT's current planning for the Circle Interchange and reconstruction of the Interstate-290 Eisenhower Expressway. The line runs through the Eisenhower corridor's Neighborhoods Now planning area, where $186 million in public-private investments are being made through a community improvement plan.

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