Chicago Area Transit Agencies Secure Federal Grants

Chicago Area Transit Agencies Secure Federal Grants for Ongoing System Enhancements and Expansion

In 2023, Chicago area transit agencies utilized millions in federal transit funding to enhance the reliability, sustainability, and accessibility of their systems for all riders.

During their December meeting, the RTA Board of Directors approved an amendment adding $121.49 million to the region’s 2022-2026 capital program. This came in addition to the $4.5 billion already incorporated into the five-year program, largely due to the state’s ongoing Rebuild Illinois capital bill and the federal government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The additional funds for CTA, Metra, and Pace capital projects in December were primarily a result of successful federal grant applications from each agency, with planning assistance and support from RTA. 43 percent, or $9.2 billion, of the more than $20 billion in transit funding from the IIJA was dispersed via competitive grant programs to organizations applying nationwide.. Winning applications received federal funds covering up to 80 percent of project costs, while the remaining portion was covered by state or local matching funds.

In the first year of the IIJA, CTA, Metra, and Pace capitalized on these expanded grant opportunities to advance long-standing goals to improve the system, with aspirations to secure even more discretionary funding in future years.

Several projects advanced after successful grant applications in 2022, which can be explored in more detail on RTA’s Capital Projects Dashboard. These projects included the Harvey Transportation Center (Pace and Metra), Bus and Garage Electrification (CTA), Red Line Extension (CTA), and Rail Station Accessibility (Metra and CTA).

The RTA’s draft Transit is the Answer regional transit strategic plan aimed to build upon this recent success and bring more transparency to the capital program. The RTA committed to working with CTA, Metra, Pace, and other stakeholders to secure increased funding for transit infrastructure, update the regional priority project list, develop a regional accessibility plan, and introduce a new project evaluation system. More information on the proposed changes to the capital program can be found in the full draft plan.

Source: Chicago area transit agencies win federal grants to continue to improve, expand system