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Chicago City Council Approves TIF Funding for CTA Red, Purple Lines

The Chicago City Council unanimously approved a transit tax-increment financing district Wednesday to fund reconstruction efforts for the CTA’s Purple and Red lines that could lead to $1.1 billion in federal grant funding.

The approved plan creates a dedicated TIF district that will generate $622 million toward the first phase of the CTA modernization effort. In June, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation that specifically authorized the transit-only TIF for the Red and Purple Modernization Program.

“This program has been several years in the making, and I am thrilled to be moving forward with the plans to modernize the Red and Purple lines,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This type of investment in transit is an investment in Chicago’s residents and neighborhoods, connecting them to jobs, education and more.”

The city and the CTA are now pursuing $1.1 billion in federal grant funding to cover half of the project’s costs. Securing that funding relies on the city’s ability to match the federal funding. The recently-approved transit TIF will make up a portion of those funds, while the remainder is expected to come from other CTA sources, like bond funds.

During a press conference following Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Emanuel explained that he immediately called U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to tell him about the affirmative vote. The mayor also dismissed the notion that City Council rushed to push the measure through before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in at the start of next year.

“We’ve been working on this a long time,” Emanuel told reporters.

“I don’t want to miss an opportunity,” he added. “I know what the residents want.”

The first phase of the plan, which the city estimates will cost $2.1 billion, will rebuild four stations and more than a mile of tracks and track structure from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr. Additionally, the project will create a Red-Purple bypass to improve Red Line service.

The project is a part of Emanuel’s “Red Ahead” initiative, which looks to improve the city’s busiest transit line.

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