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Chicago scrambles to secure transit funds for Red-Purple modernization

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The city wants to get $1.1 billion in transit funding while President Obama is still in office

While President-elect Donald Trump has stated that infrastructure improvements will be an important piece of his presidency, the City of Chicago is racing against the clock to secure $1.1 billion for the CTA while the Obama Administration is still in office in Washington, Crain’s reports. Specifically, the CTA is seeking federal funds via a Core Capacity grant that will provide the money needed for the ongoing Red-Purple modernization project which includes the controversial Red-Purple Line Bypass (or Belmont flyover), the renovation of several stations, and the replacement of 1.3 miles of aging track. In order to obtain the federal grant funding, the city is expected to raise half of the funds locally. In August, the city introduced a new transportation TIF to help pay for the $2.1 billion Red-Purple modernization.

The timing is tough for the CTA because a new administration will mean that the city transit agency may have to start the application process over again, and may face competition from the local transportation agencies of other cities. According to Crain’s, the timing for the Core Capacity grant will be very close. By the time all of the Federal Transit Administration paperwork has been submitted and Congress gets its 30 day notice period, the date for final action could be January 15—just days before President-elect Trump is inaugurated.