The US Federal Transit Administration has signed a USD1bn Full Funding Agreement with the Chicago Transit Authority for the first phase of
the Red and Purple Modernisation Program (RPM), meeting a self-imposed deadline from the city to reach the agreement under the former Obama administration; the city feared the new President could make such funding for major transit schemes more difficult to achieve.
The plan is to rebuild the century-old “L” lines north of Belmont at a key junction of the Red, Purple and Brown lines and enhance capacity on a network where rush hour ridership has grown 40% in the last decade. Added to match funding from the city, a total of USD2.1bn will be used to rebuild Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations, including the addition of elevators, as well as the reconstruction of just under 1.6km (one-mile) of track, power and signalling systems. The CTA also plans to order 32 new cars for the system in the programme, scheduled to begin later in 2017 for completion by 2022.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel commented: “You cannot have an economy move at a 21st Century pace if it’s built on a 20th Century structure. A lot of these stations… literally were opened in 1908 when Teddy Roosevelt was president.” The City Council unanimously approved a Tax-Increment Financing district on 30 November 2016 that will collect money from property owners who live within 0.8km (0.5 miles) of the Red line between North Avenue and Devon. The CTA also plans to sell bonds to raise money for the project. The project will create about 6000 jobs, Emanuel said: “I want it to be an economic opportunity for the entire city of Chicago.”