Lost among all the news about the CTA fare increase last week is the $3 billion capital budget for 2009-2013 also passed by the board.
The CTA says $2.9 billion of that is "to eliminate slow zones, renew assets, overhaul and replace the fleet, and bring
the system to a state of good repair. In addition $40.0 million is programmed
for the completion of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project, a vital system
The press release states that the CTA is expecting $300 million from the successor to the Illinois FIRST program. But the CTA doesn't expect to see any cash until 2010. At least they are being realistic about this.
The CTA also is being honest about the lack of progress from the state Legislature on a capital spending budget:
Funding identified in the CIP will only partially meet the CTA’s needs to bring its system into a state of good repair. An estimated $6.8 billion remains unfunded over the five-year period of this CIP. This is due to the continued aging of assets and the lack of a new State capital program. Although a proposed new State funding program is projected to begin in 2010, projects which may be funded with these capital dollars will remain a part of the CTA’s unfunded need until a State program is passed and funds are appropriated.
In addition, to meet the needs of future growth in the region, the CTA will request $4.3 billion for expansion projects such as the Circle Line, and the Red, Orange and Yellow Line extensions. Maintaining the existing bus and rail system is a top priority; however it is also important to improve the connectivity and usefulness of the system by adding strategic connections and line extensions. As the bus and rail system operates more efficiently, the population of the entire Chicago region will benefit.