CTA receives largest-ever federal infrastructure grant of nearly $2B for Red Line extension project

BySarah Schulte and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, September 9, 2023
CTA receives nearly $2B grant for Red Line extension project
The CTA is received a nearly $2 billion infrastructure grant, its largest ever, for the Red Line extension project to add stations down to 130th St.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Red Line extension project is moving forward with a new and major financial boost.

The feds are chipping in almost $2 billion to extend those CTA tracks on the South Side.

Right now the trains end at 95th Street, but the goal is to make them go all the way down to 130th Street.

CTA President Dorval Carter, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, Senator Dick Durbin and others gathering on the Far South Side Friday morning for a news conference.

CTA completes environmental review for Red Line extension on Far South Side

They announced that the federal government has pledged $1.973 billion for the Red Line extension project.

The project will extend the red line 5.6 miles from 95th Street to around 130th. It includes four new train stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street.

"You know I love the West Side of Chicago, but it is well past time that the South and far South Side of Chicago gets its fair share of access to the economic vitality that the City of Chicago provides," said Mayor Johnson.

Senator Durbin and the CTA says this extension was a promise made by elected officials to Chicago 50 years ago and it's now finally coming true.

"For too long, our transportation system has denied residents beyond 95th Street and for too long, South Side residents have been hindered by barriers to transportation," Mayor Johnsons aid. "But that's changing today. Today, we're beginning to right the historic wrongs."

"What does it mean? It means for 100,000 people with this extension from 95th to 130th, they have access now. It means you don't have to take two buses and a train to get to work," Senator Durbin said.

Several renderings were released Friday. City leaders said the project has now advanced into the next phase of the federal New Starts program which is a critical step to securing funding that will cover half of the project cost.

This is a major milestone for the project and city officials said the federal grant would be the largest transit infrastructure grant awarded to the CTA in the agency's history.

The other half of the funding for the project will come from local funds, bonds, the CTA and other sources. The project is about $300 million short of being fully funded, but 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, who has been pushing for the extension for more than 20 years, is confident the shortage will not halt the project.

"I think we are just about there and I think we can find another $300 million to bridge that gap," he said.

As for the timeline, the engineering phase will begin next year and construction is set to start in 2025 and last about five years.