Chicago's signature rail line, the CTA's Red Line is about to get a whole lot better, officials say.
In a rare joint appearance, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a $1 billion capital improvement project to improve the Red and Purple line rails and stations.
"The public will get a new CTA," Emanuel said during a press conference at the 35th Street station.
The project includes plans to replace tracks between 18th and 95th streets, and to upgrade stations between Cermak and 95th streets.
“We believe in the CTA," Gov. Quinn said. "More than 70 million riders every year rely on this system."
Further north, the Wilson and Clark/Division stations, along with the surrounding track, will be rebuilt. The ventilation system will be upgraded on the underground portion of the Red Line through downtown Chicago. Three electrical substations will be upgraded to improve reliability and ensure that service levels can be maintained. In addition to the work on the Red Line, ties will be replaced on the Purple Line track between the Belmont and Linden stations, eliminating slow zones on the 24 percent of the express service that is forced to operate at a maximum of 35 mph or less.
CTA President Forrest Claypool called it the single largest investment in the history of the Red Line.
"It's a tremendously good day for our customers," he said.
Governor Quinn said $646 million will come from state coffers, $255.5 million from federal funds and another $44 million from the city.
"It will quickly put people to work now and improve the quality of life for Chicago residents for years to come by ensuring safe, reliable travel between their jobs, their homes and their families,” Quinn said.