Stimulus Money Going Blue in Chicago

Durbin, Daley announce Blue Line updates

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced federal economic stimulus money to will be spent to update the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line trains.

Some of the crumbling CTA facilities haven't had a facelift in 50 year, and without an upgrade of the transit system, the city could find itself unworthy of the Olympic Games.

The $88 million program will be used to replace seven miles of CTA Blue Line track, from Division Street to the Clinton station, Daley said Monday.

"President Obama understands this is the moment for public reinvestment.  This is a moment to put dollars, extra dollars, back into our public infrastructure, which will create jobs, which we desperately need," said Durbin.  "This is part of our national economy, maintaining this infrastructure across America, and I think the federal government has an important responsibility to reinvest our taxpayers' dollars into infrastructure that will grow this economy."

The CTA said it did what it could afford last year, upgrading the tracks to eliminate slow zones, which was among riders' chief complaints about the Blue Line.

"The stimulus money allows us to go back and replace everything we didn't get to replace last year," Daley said of the long-overdue makeover.

Eventually, the overhaul will mean faster trips and reliable service, but there will be inconveniences.

"The work will be done on weekends, and will result in some service disruptions, but we will keep riders informed of any expected delays and available alternate service," said CTA President Richard Rodriguez.

Suburban mass transit will also be getting a share of stimulus money, but Durbin said he didn't have specific information just yet.

The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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