Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tribune: South Side leaders push for Red Line extension

This article was in the Tribune recently:
Community leaders on Chicago's South Side on Monday questioned the commitment of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CTA to extend the Red Line to 130th Street, complaining that the long-sought rail project may be suffering unnecessary delays as the transit agency moves quickly to spend hundreds of millions on other improvements.

Among the key concerns is the CTA linking the Red Line extension to its overall modernization plans for the entire line, which is the agency's longest and busiest rail route.

"The Red Line extension could be moving faster, and we want to make sure it is not put on the back burner,'' said Gwendolyn Rice, executive director of the Developing Communities Project. "Work on one project should not preclude work on the other.''

CTA President Forrest Claypool has said it makes no sense to extend the Red Line without also enhancing the line elsewhere by eliminating slow zones caused by deteriorated track and updating stations and electrical power along the route so trains can circulate more quickly between the North and South sides.

Emanuel made the Red Line extension, estimated to cost at least $1.5 billion, his No. 1 transportation priority when he campaigned for mayor.

CTA officials say the extension remains a top priority. But the agency has not established a timeline for building the 5.3 miles of new track, new stations at 103rd, 111th, 115th and 130th streets, and park-and-ride facilities.

The project schedule will depend on review and approval of the project by the Federal Transit Administration and funding availability, CTA officials said.
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