SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today released more than $72 million in state funds to help the Regional Transportation Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority rehabilitate mass transit rail and bus systems in Northeastern Illinois.
“One of the original goals of the Illinois FIRST program was to help revitalize aging mass transit systems in all parts of the state, but especially in the Chicago area where commuter rail and bus systems are heavily used and deteriorating,” Ryan said. “These allocations will help hundreds of thousands of riders who depend each day on the RTA and the CTA to get to work, to school or to the store.”
Governor Ryan released $60.8 million in state funds to help the RTA pay the debt service on more than $1 billion in bonds the agency issued in the last decade to replace or repair aging track, commuter stations, rail cars, buses and transit systems.
New projects to be funded include the purchase of as many as 250 new bi-level commuter rail cars, the overhaul of 450 current rail cars, the purchase of 120 transit buses and commuter station upgrades to meet the guidelines of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Governor Ryan also released $11.4 million in Illinois FIRST funds to help pay for the complete renovation of the CTA’s Clark Junction on the Red and Brown lines – one of the most heavily used parts of the track network. More than 870 trains daily pass through this crucial area, which has not been rehabilitated in 30 years. Upgrading track,
signals and other systems at the Clark Junction will cost more than $57 million. The state so far as contributed $13 million.
Illinois FIRST funds for the construction of this project are generated through the sale of state bonds. By law, proceeds from bond sales cannot be used for general state operations.