Monday, September 24, 2012

Does fixing Red Line mean extension to 130th Street more likely? - Chicago Sun-Times

This shouldn't be news, when the Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line is shut down for five months starting in May next year they're expected to work on the railroad from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street. One benefit to this project is that it will take one roadblock away from when it's time to start building that extension from 95th to 130th Street.
The wheels are rolling in preparation for next year’s massive overhaul of the CTA’s Red Line on the South Side.

More than a dozen bus drivers out of a pool of 4,000 applicants have been hired and will begin training within weeks to eventually ferry riders while construction takes place on the line. A $220 million contract to do track work on a portion of the project was awarded last week to Kiewit Infrastructure Corporation. And the CTA will soon award a contract replace everything from lighting to floors and walls at stations on the line, and three stations — Garfield, 63rd and 87th Street — will get elevators.

But with that project under way, does that mean the long-sought-after extension of the Red Line to 130th Street is closer to becoming a reality?

The transit agency has long said the new track is necessary because crews can’t connect new track to existing track that has so badly deteriorated, officials said.

“You can’t talk about extending the Red Line from 95th Street south until you have rebuilt the railroad from 95th to 22nd,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in June.

“These improvements are not only critical to providing a much better service for our South Side riders, but also will lay a foundation that makes possible the extension.”

But there’s one big problem: how will CTA fund an extension’s $1.4 billion pricetag?
Read the whole thing!

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