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CTA approves slightly higher budget sans fare increases, service cuts

Chicago Transit Authority’s board recently approved a 2003 budget that contains initiatives and projects that will enable CTA to continue rebuilding its system without raising fares or cutting services.

The $924.6 million operating budget is 1.1 percent ($9.8 million) higher than 2002’s budget. CTA forecasts ridership and revenue to grow 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, and public funding to increase 2.7 percent, compared with 2002.

An additional $539 million is earmarked for capital improvements, including the ongoing rehabilitation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line and the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. Next year, CTA also plans to renovate eight stations on the Dan Ryan Branch of the Red Line, reconfigure the Harrison Curve, upgrade the signal and communication systems at Clark Junction, and prepare to purchase new "L" cars.

"We need to use every resource available to renovate our stations, replenish our fleet and improve service," said CTA Chairman Valerie Jarrett in a prepared statement.

Despite the work planned for 2003, CTA estimates it needs $5 billion over the next five years to bring the system to a state of good repair. So far, officials have identified funding sources for only $3.1 billion.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/22/2002