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New Metra railcars, locomotives are part of 2020 budget

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State capital will help the agency make improvements

A rail yard with several silver Metra commuter trains. There are short service buildings in the distance.
Metra rail cars in Chicago.
Shutterstock

In September, Metra promised it wouldn’t increase fares and planned to prioritize a backlog of improvements with a new infusion of money from the state capital infrastructure bill.

After a budget meeting on Tuesday, the transit agency released more details about its spending plan. The full $827.4 operating budget outlines a total of $480.5 million for locomotives, railcars, stations, bridges, and rail yards.

Throughout the next five years Metra will receive $1.45 billion from the state capital program. When combined with other revenue from federal and local sources the agency will be able to invest $2.6 billion in total over that time period.

In the next year, here’s what Metra plans to fix, and how much it’ll spend, to make commutes faster and more reliable.

$138.8 million on new railcars and locomotives

There is currently a request to manufacturers for about 400 new cars. Metra will review the new designs for ensure the cars carry enough passengers and have amenities. It will also purchase “new remanufactured locomotives” and will buy a prototype alternative fuel locomotive.

$95.3 million to rehab existing cars and locomotives

In addition to bringing on new commuter trains to the Metra fleet, the agency will also overhaul 21 recently purchased Amtrak locomotives and upgrade 54 locomotives with more reliable mechanics.

$51.2 million for stations and parking

Metra will make sure every station is ADA accessible and that there’s a warming shelter. Major projects for the coming year include a new Auburn Park Station on the Rock Island Line, work on the 147th Street station on the Metra Electric Line, and upgrades to the Hubbard Woods station on the UP North Line.

$23.2 million to rehab rail yards

Rail yards allow Metra to maintain trains and without adequate facilities it hampers the agencies ability to increase service. Projects to expand both the Western Avenue Yard and the California Avenue Yard will allow Metra to work on improving service on the Milwaukee District lines, the North Central Service, Heritage Corridor, and the UP lines.

$22.6 million to fix century-old bridges

Metra is responsibly for more than 500 bridges, some of which are more than 100 years old. The capital will be used to reconstruct several bridges including the next phase of the UP North bridge project which involves replacing 11 bridges over 11 streets between Fullerton and Addison.

Before the proposed budget is approved there will be a series of eight public hearings throughout Chicago until November 5. Public comments on the budget can be emailed to 2020budgetcomments@ metrarr.com.