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RTA Board Approves $2.9 Billion 2016 Regional Transit Operating Budget and $3.9 Billion 2016-2020 Regional Capital Program

December 17, 2015

CHICAGO - The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors today adopted the 2016 operating budgets for the RTA, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, totaling $2.9 billion.  The Board also adopted a five-year capital program in the amount of $3.9 billion.

“This has been a productive budget season, which began with reaching agreement on operating funding allocations for the Service Boards through a collaborative process almost a month ahead of the statutory deadline,” said Leanne Redden, RTA executive director. “In addition, for the second consecutive year, this budget allocates a share of non-statutory funding to all three Service Boards; this had been previously limited to CTA and Pace. Finally, the RTA once again increased funds for the Service Boards by directly programming state authorized Innovation, Coordination and Enhancement (ICE) funds through the budget process.”

Redden added that these budgets were created and approved with the assumption that state transit funding will remain stable in 2016.  The 2016 RTA Agency budget includes a 5.3% decrease in the agency administrative budget, due mostly to lower expenditures for the Travel Information Call Center as more riders utilize online services for travel planning.  This contributes to an overall agency budget decrease that allows the RTA to allocate more funding to the Service Boards to benefit riders. 

“The recent passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or the FAST Act is a bright spot in the long term capital budget process. We believe this five-year package, which includes $61 billion for public transportation, will benefit CTA, Metra, Pace  and ADA Paratransit riders, as it gives agencies some funding certainty as they move forward with their capital plans. It’s estimated that these increased levels of funding could translate to more than $250 million in additional formula funding over a five year period for our region,” said Redden.

The $2.9 billion operating budget approved by the RTA Board will authorize operations expenses of the following amounts: CTA, $1.47 billion; Metra, $759.8 million; Pace Suburban Bus Service, $228 million; Pace Regional ADA Paratransit, $174.8 million; and the RTA $35.2 million. The RTA Board also adopted a five-year capital program, covering 2016 to 2020, in the amount of $3.9 billion. This includes an estimated $872 million in capital expenditures for 2016.

These 2016 budgets will be used towards the following projects:  

  • CTA express bus service along Ashland and Western Avenues, two of the agency’s busiest routes, with plans to introduce transit signal priority to further improve speed and reliability.
  • CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) program that enhances station access along the corridor, expands platforms, and replaces and modernizes the 90-year-old structural system.
  • Metra mobile ticketing application support activities and a pilot program to test innovative platform heating technology.
  • Metra’s fleet modernization plan, which includes the replacement and rehabilitation of rail cars and locomotives.
  • Pace express service on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in the northwest suburbs and preparation for the 2017 launch of its regional Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) network with Pulse service on Milwaukee Avenue.
  • Construction of a new Pace Northwest Cook Garage that will improve operating efficiencies, replacing the existing 50 year-old garage that has become overcrowded and is operationally dated.
  • RTA leveraging federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program funds through the Access to Transit Program that helps municipalities implement local pedestrian infrastructure improvements that make our public transit system more accessible and easier to ride  and working with other transportation partners on Union Station redevelopment.
  • RTA work with other transportation partners to fund design of improvements to Chicago Union Station that improve passenger capacity, service, safety, accessibility, and mobility issues.

The budget process included a series of public budget hearings and presentations to the six-county boards to share information and gather input on the 2016 transit budget and capital program. View a copy of the transit system’s 2016 budget and capital program at


About the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit.    The RTA region serves two million riders each weekday in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including on-line and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information, visit

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Melissa Meyer

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