News & Reviews News Wire Chicago’s Red Line Extension receives $1.9 billion federal commitment

Chicago’s Red Line Extension receives $1.9 billion federal commitment

By | September 11, 2023

Extension planned for over 50 years

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artist rendering of proposed train station
Looking to the southwest, this is the proposed Michigan Avenue station on the CTA Red Line extension. A total of four new stations would be constructed as part of the 5.6-mile extension to Chicago’s far south side. CTA

CHICAGO – The Federal Transit Administration has committed $1.947 billion in federal funding for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line Extension Project. The 5.6-mile extension of the CTA’s Red Line to Chicago’s southern border is the first rail transit extension since the Orange Line, running southwest to Midway International Airport from the Loop opened in 1993 [see “CTA awards contract for $1.2 billion Red Line project,” News Wire, Dec. 14, 2018]. It will serve roughly 100,000 people, most of whom are from low-income households on Chicago’s South Side.

Map illustrating new transit route.
The preferred alignment for the CTA Red Line expansion. CTA

The project has entered the engineering phase of FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program, with the $1.9 billion amounting to roughly 50% of the project’s cost. The funds are not yet guaranteed, but Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval Carter Jr. says the project has progressed through several hurdles under the FTA’s New Starts grant program.  It is one of the largest grant awards in program history. The remaining half of the funds, according to the CTA, will come from sales tax bond proceeds and local tax-increment financing district revenue.

The Red Line Extension will run from the existing terminal at 95th/Dan Ryan to 130th Street. It will include four new stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street. Multimodal connections at each station would include bus, bike, pedestrian, and park & ride facilities. The City of Chicago has targeted areas near future stations for significant local investment. Construction could begin in 2025.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law designated $89.9 billion in transit funding, and Illinois will receive the fourth-highest amount in direct transit funding at $4.1 billion.

For additional project information, click here.

3 thoughts on “Chicago’s Red Line Extension receives $1.9 billion federal commitment

  1. As John points out there already is Metra trackage serving the same area. Immediate CTA fare integration and frequency increase would give most of the potential riders service now. Restoring both the former Metra Electric and NICTD stations at 130th St (CTA’s planned new terminal) would cover the rest of them. In the NICTD case the new Metra service should run to Hegewish–already setup as a terminal from several decades ago when Metra diesel trains ran there. (three CTA bus routes serve that station) Adding Rock Island District to the fare integration gives evenmore riders new faster options for ransit on existing infrastructure without extra fare. Critically, ME,RI,and NICTD are fully state owned–no need to negotiate “slots” on private RRs. Half a century after takeover of “commuter” transit by public entities it is longpast time tofare integrate the semi separate systems so that all riders benefit from the taxes they pay to support the services.

    1. I’d take the money for that Michigan Avenue station in the rendering and put it to two other uses: (1) Continue the very successful program of rebuilding ME stations. (2) Replace that insulting third-world dump at LaSalle Street which is the downtown terminal for the RI district.

  2. Nothing exists between Kensington Park (Michigan Ave) and 130th Street except swamps, rail yards, metal scrap area and worst of all the Metropolitan Water district sewage processing tanks and settlement ponds. Cottage Grove Ave is for the refuse trucks.

    Also Metra has no less than 4 stations in the same service area, 103rd, 107th, 111th, 115th. The proposed Michigan Ave. station will be 6 blocks from the 115th Ave station and 9 blocks from the State Street station.

    The thing this proposed route has going for it is that the Fernwood neighborhood is still very dense in housing and it gets the CTA closer to underserved Burnham and Calumet City.

    Metra tried a couple of times to get a service started south of Calumet City, but after Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left office, it pretty much died.

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