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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will host a meeting Nov. 12 to hear the public's comments on the agency's proposed $1.38 billion budget for fiscal-year 2014.Recently proposed by CTA President Forrest Claypool, the balanced budget would maintain transit service, "hold the line" on fares, and continue "unprecedented investment" in projects and programs to modernize the system, CTA officials said in a press release.The budget includes a $4 billion capital plan begun in 2011, including rehabilitating rail stations, modernizing rail and bus fleets, and bringing infrastructure into a state of good repair.Next year, the CTA is scheduled to begin construction of a new 95th Street Terminal; a $240 million project to expand and upgrade the 95th/Dan Ryan station; reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station; and continue work on the $71.2 million Ravenswood Connector project to upgrade track and related rail structure between the Chicago and Armitage stations on the elevated Brown and Purple Express lines.The budget also reflects recent reforms to save money, such as changes to supply chain operations to better track purchases and inventory, and an effort to reduce employee absenteeism, CTA officials said."The CTA has operated efficiently and responsibly with three straight years of balanced budgets after inheriting a $308 million deficit in 2011," Claypool said. "We've done so through rigorous management reforms that have reduced waste and trimmed spending, while upholding service and fare levels for our customers and creating permanent jobs that better service passengers."The agency's new agreement with its labor unions "also contributed significantly to the financial turnaround," he added.
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