February 6, 2015
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DOT Awards $120 Million Loan to CTA

DOT has awarded the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) a $120 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to make major improvements to the Blue Line of the agency’s “L” rail service, announced Secretary Anthony Foxx and Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a Feb. 5 event also attended by CTA President Forrest Claypool and other city officials.

Specifically, the loan will upgrade the tracks, stations, power supply and signal system along a 19-mile route between the downtown Loop and Chicago O’Hare International Airport to reduce or eliminate “slow zones,” resulting in faster, more reliable service for more than 80,000 daily riders.

“By modernizing the Blue Line, we are investing in Chicago’s future, as it not only serves as a vital transportation link connecting O’Hare and downtown but it serves as a key economic engine for scores of Chicago neighborhoods,” Emanuel said. “This federal funding will help us ensure that we build the infrastructure Chicago needs to succeed economically in the 21st century.”

FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan called the L a “lifeline” for residents and visitors to the city’s jobs, attractions and events. “With this project, CTA, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois continue to make the critical investments in modern infrastructure that riders expect and deserve,” she said.

The TIFIA loan is part of a four-year, $408.7 million Blue Line renovation project (known as Your New Blue), also supported by $16 million DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds awarded in 2012, with the remainder coming from state, local, and other sources. The project represents the largest upgrade of the Blue Line since it was extended to O’Hare in 1984.
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