The outgoing president has authorized $1.1 billion in Federal transportation funds to modernize the northern half of the CTA's Red Line:
City Hall has received the parting gift it wanted from the Obama administration: just under $1.1 billion in federal grants to rebuild a key stretch of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line north.
The city and U.S. Department of Transportation officials are scheduled to sign a contract tomorrow, known as a full-funding grant agreement, committing the DOT's Federal Transit Agency to provide $957 million in "core capacity" funds and another $125 million in anti-congestion money for the CTA's Phase One Red/Purple Modernization project.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a phone interview, called the Red Line "the central nerve" of the CTA system.
The federal money "means 6,000 (construction) jobs, and it means decades of neighborhood improvements," he said, crediting U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and state officials for taking the necessary preliminary steps to make it happen.
"Forty percent of the people who take the CTA take that line," he added.
Some of the track, embankments, and stations in the affected zone are 117 years old.