Plan to Extend Red Line South Rolls On

Plan calls for extending line to 130th street, building four new stations

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With the help of some federal money, a decades-old plan to add four more stops to the southern part of the Chicago Transit Authority's longest line could finally become more than just urban legend and wishful thinking.

Construction on the estimated $1.4 billion extension of the Red Line could begin within the next several years and be completed as quickly as 2016, depending on the availability of money, CTA officials said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Four new stops would be built -- at 103rd, 11th, 116th and 130th streets -- bringing greater access to transit to several neighborhoods.

For many on the city's far South Side, a two-hour commute to downtown is commonplace.

For Tanisha Green, it means leaving the house at 3 a.m. in order to catch a bus, then a train, to arrive at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts on the near North Side.

"It'd be much faster (if the train came further south). I'd have an easier way of getting here than having to come all the way down to 95th street," she explained.

Seven years ago, the Developing Communities Project launched a public campaign to get the CTA to commit to a plan first conceived in the late 1960s and start looking for funding to help offset the estimated cost of $1.4 billion.

"We do need an economic development project to occur in our region," said DCP spokesman John Paul Jones. "This region has been starving for mass transit for many years."

The process of securing the money, which would come from the federal New Starts program, consists of five steps. The Red Line extention project is just in the first phase, the environmental impact study.

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