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Chicago regional transit system faces $36 billion in capital needs over next decade, RTA says


Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is falling behind in its investment in new equipment purchases and infrastructure improvements because the Northeastern Illinois mass transit agencies don't receive the federal funds and state resources necessary to keep up with capital expenditure needs, RTA officials announced last week.

The RTA's Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report shows that under-investment in recent years has led to a multibillion dollar shortfall in mass transit funding, a deficit that's projected to increase over the next decade without a "significant" increase in capital funding, authority officials said in a press release.

The report analyzes the current physical condition and 10-year capital reinvestment needs of capital assets owned and operated by the RTA, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace as of Dec. 31, 2013. The report states that those transportation providers will need $1.66 billion per year over the next decade to fund normal replacement, rehabilitation and capital maintenance needs. In addition, the region has $19.5 billion of deferred investment, or capital backlog. Combined with future needs, the total required for capital investment adds up to $36.1 billion, RTA officials said.

CTA accounts for 62 percent of the regional needs, while Metra's capital needs account for 32.4 percent and Pace's account for 6.3 percent.

The region will receive $563 million to $765 million annually over the next 20 years, about half of what will be needed to assure the region's capital backlog, RTA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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