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January 19, 2001

Gov. Ryan Announces $79 Million Grant for CTA's Elevated Blue Line

WASHINGTON, DC -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced a combination of Illinois First funds totaling nearly $79 million for the rehabilitation of the Chicago Transit Authority's Douglas Branch of the Blue elevated line.

The state's contribution is matched by a $315.8 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The funding announcements came at a joint press conference by Gov. Ryan, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Mayor Richard M. Daley and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.

"This will resurrect a vital public transportation link between the city's West Side and jobs in Chicago's central area," Gov. Ryan said. "This is a wonderful example of how cooperation between federal, state and local government can greatly benefit the people of Illinois."

The 6.6-mile Douglas corridor has 54,000 jobs and 115,000 residents within walking distance of the Blue Line.

The Douglas Branch of the Blue Line was built between 1895 and 1912. Major structural problems have resulted in a 30 percent ridership drop in the last 15 years. Approximately 27,000 riders now utilize the Blue Line on an average day.

The rehabilitation will include:

  • Construction of a terminal at 54th Avenue.

  • Reconfiguration of the Douglas terminal yard.

  • Reconstruction of eight stations to include 10-car platforms and to incorporate requirements of the American Disability Act.

  • Reconstruction and rehabilitation of five substations.

  • Replacement of signal and communication systems.

  • Repair of track and elevated structures.

Secretary Slater also announced a $4.2 million grant from the Discretionary Bridge Program for the reconstruction of Wacker Drive.

The two-mile, two-level road was originally built in 1926 and carries 60,000 vehicles per day. The upper level serves traffic within the central business district. The lower level is a major thoroughfare and provides crucial freight access for all adjacent buildings.

Under the current multi-year highway program, $62 million will be provided for the Wacker Drive Project as part of the Illinois FIRST program.


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