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$1.48 Million in Federal Funds Awarded for Red Line Extension TOD Planning

9:08 PM CST on December 18, 2018

Architect’s rendering of a proposed CTA Red Line station at 103rd Street and Eggleston Avenue.

Last week the CTA board approved the contract for to conduct the environmental review and preliminary design work for the Red Line extension project, which would lengthen the route from 95th Street to 130th Street. According to a Chicago Tribune report, the nearly $21 million contract was awarded to the architecture and civil engineering and construction management company the HNTB Corporation. While it's not clear how the CTA will pay for the $2.3 billion project, doing the preliminary work now will set the stage for applying for federal funding.

In another sign that the long-anticipated Red Line extension is getting real, yesterday U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced $1,480,000 in federal funding to support the project, awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation from its Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Planning Program. This initiative provides funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment.

Planning funded through the TOD program must be used to study ways to improve economic development and transit ridership, encourage multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for people on foot and bikes, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and encourage mixed-use development near transit stations.

“Extending the Red Line south will help move our city forward, create jobs, drive development, connect residents and secure our place as a world-class city in the 21st century,” Emanuel said in a statement.

One possibility for funding the massive Red Line extension construction project would be a new Illinois transportation and infrastructure funding bill, something that governor-elect J.B. Pritzker says he wants to pursue. Emanuel, who's not running for reelection recently proposed raising the state gas tax, which has been stuck at 19 cents a gallon since 1991, by 20 to 30 cents to fund the bill, but that idea has already seen some stiff resistance.

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