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Chicago RTA OKs 2017 operating budget, five-year capex plan

Metra, which receives funds from the RTA, plans to raise fares by 5.8 percent in 2017.
Photo – Metra


The Chicago Regional Transportation Authority's (RTA) board late last week adopted a $3 billion operating budget for 2017, along with a five-year, $5.1 billion capital program.

The capital budget includes $1.8 billion in expenditures for the coming year, RTA officials said in a press release.

The 2017 operating budget sets aside $1.5 billion for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and $781.2 million for Metra. Although Metra is planning a 5.8 percent fare increase in 2017, CTA won't raise ticket prices, RTA officials said.

RTA funding will allow CTA to continue projects to rehabilitate rail stations, select a final alignment for a proposed Red Line extension and remove rail slow zones. For its part, Metra plans to continue rehabilitating locomotives and rail cars, purchase new units and replace aging Union Pacific North Line bridges.

For the third consecutive year, RTA isn't expecting new capital money from the state of Illinois, agency officials said. To address the region's backlog of capital needs, RTA would need to invest $2 billion to $3 billion each year; the current program falls short of that.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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