The Chicago Transit Authority will move forward with its plan to rebuild aging rail systems on the Red and Purple lines north of Belmont, after receiving just over $1 billion in federal funding. City officials announced on Monday that the full-funding agreement will allow the transit agency to begin the first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, which includes the reconstruction of four rail stations and more than a mile of tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr.
“The Obama Administration has made historic investments in public transportation, and we are proud to partner with Chicago to help improve rail transit service for thousands of residents,” said Carolyn Flowers, acting administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. Flowers joined city officials to announce the the full-funding agreement, which secures a $957 million Core Capacity grant and $125 million in anti-congestion funds for the project.
The agreement comes days before the Obama administration is set to depart the White House. Because of concerns that the federal funds would not be available under President Donald Trump, securing funding for Phase 1 of the RPM prior to January 20 was a major priority for the city. In November, the Chicago City Council approved the city’s first transit tax-financing district, which is expected to generate a significant portion ($622 million) of the local matching funds required for the Core Capacity grant.
Design and engineering work for the first phase of the RPM is expected to begin in 2017, with construction beginning in late 2018, according to the city. The project will include rebuilding the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr rail stations and more than a mile of adjacent tracks and structures, as well as construction of a Red-Purple flyover north of the Belmont station. The structure will allow Brown Line trains to pass above Red and Purple Line trains, relieving congestion during peak travel times. The city expects construction to take between four and five years to complete.
Over the weekend, the CTA also announced a major renovation of the Garfield Green Line station on the city’s South Side.
The $50 million Garfield Gateway project will extend platform canopies; upgrade platform accessibility, including elevator and escalator improvements; and install public art and landscaping at the station. The CTA will also improve the streetscape near the station, including enhanced pedestrian street crossings, bike lanes, benches, bike racks, eco-friendly paving materials and sustainable native grasses and plants. The city said it expects construction to begin in 2018.
Take a look at this rendering of the Garfield Green Line station following the completion of the Garfield Gateway project.
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