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CTA proposes $5B capital budget for 2020-24

The proposed five-year capital budget continues more than $8 billion of transit investments.
Photo – CTA Facebook


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) last week proposed a $5.1 billion budget for capital improvements in 2020-24 and a $1.57 billion operating budget for 2020. 

Expenses for the 2020 operating budget are $18.4 million higher than the 2019 budget and $44.5 million higher than the 2019 forecast. The majority of the increase is due to rising pension, health insurance and workers’ compensation costs, according to the budget proposal document. 

The proposed five-year capital budget continues more than $8 billion of transit investment since completed or begun since 2011. Those projects include rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones; modernizing the rail fleet and removing slow zones, CTA officials said in a press release.

Capital projects to continue or begin in 2020 include:

  • Phase one of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which will include the construction of a rail bypass, the rebuild of four Red Line stations, and installation of track and signal systems;
  • improvements to stations, track, infrastructure and signaling on the Blue Line’s O’Hare branch; and 
  • delivery of 10 prototypes of the 7000-series rail car, CTA’s newest-generation rail car.

As part of the proposed capital budget, CTA would invest $310 million into the engineering and design of the Red Line Extension project, which will extend the Red Line 5.3 miles south and include four new, accessible stations.

The capital budget also includes $78 million to make all rail stations vertically accessible. 

Following a decade without a State capital plan, CTA received a significant funding commitment in 2019 with the passage of the state of Illinois’ Rebuild Illinois capital bill, officials said. The bill provides CTA with $1.2 billion in bond funding over the next five years and includes $141.5 million in earmarked projects, including:

  • $60 million to overhaul the Cottage Grove station on the Green Line;
  • $50 million to improve traction power on the Blue Line’s O’Hare Branch; and 
  • $31.5 million to upgrade stations on the O’Hare Branch from downtown to O’Hare.

CTA will hold a public hearing Nov. 13 on the proposed budgets. CTA's board is scheduled to vote Nov. 20 to adopt them.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/28/2019