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RTA releases semi-annual project management oversight report highlighting more than 100 capital projects

January 3, 2024

Pace capital

Under its Project Management Oversight (PMO) program, the RTA ensures that the Service Boards—CTA, Metra, and Pace—are spending capital funds and managing their capital projects effectively and efficiently. The PMO program includes oversight of all state-funded transit projects, regardless of budget, and all other projects with budgets of $10 million or more, regardless of funding source. Project progress information is updated on a quarterly basis on the Regional Transportation Authority Mapping and Statistics (RTAMS) website.

In December, the RTA released a new semi-annual PMO report providing details on current capital projects throughout the region. This PMO report includes 84 active state funded projects that have a total budget of almost $3.9 billion, of which $2.66 billion is state funding. The majority of current state projects are funded by the $2.6 billion Rebuild Illinois state bond program and by $227 million in ongoing annual gas tax revenue available for capital projects, referred to as PAYGO. The report also includes 28 projects with budgets of $10 million or more, funded with mostly federal and other local funds. In total, the report details 112 projects which show a capital investment of over $7.6 billion into Chicago’s regional transit system.

Project highlights

CTA: Phase I – Forest Park Branch Blue Line Rebuild

Expected completion: April 2025

Budget: $250 million

In July, CTA started construction on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line. This work is part of CTA’s Phase I of the multi-year project along the Blue Line’s Forest Park Branch to make the service faster, safer, more reliable, and accessible for riders. The scope of work under this project includes track replacement, rehabilitation of the Racine station, a new Morgan substation, and traction power improvements at Hermitage.

The trackwork part of the project completely rebuilds the track infrastructure between Illinois Medical District and LaSalle Stations, removing almost 3 miles of slow zones. This work was completed in the beginning of October on time, and the service was restored on time. Signal work continues with signal device installation, signal cable installation, and signal testing.

The Racine Station work is focused on making the station ADA accessible as well as adding other customer-facing improvements. As part of this project, the main entrance at Racine Street will be upgraded to add an elevator. At the auxiliary west entrance at Loomis Street, the platform access ramp will be rebuilt. Work completed to date includes demolition of the old Racine Station Headhouse, ramps, and platforms. The concrete for the new station house and platform has been poured and underground utility and sewer work has been completed. The work on building the new station is set to begin this month.

In addition, the Racine Station project will include a new substation to be built at Morgan. Overall, the scope of work includes building the substation structure as well as design and construction of traction power conversion, distribution equipment, and cable connections to the existing track. Redundant ComEd utility sources will be required. Additional traction power upgrades will also be implemented at the Hermitage Substation to replace equipment that is nearing the end of its useful life.

More funding is needed to advance future phases of the Forest Park Branch Rebuild, which in total is estimated to cost $3 billion. CTA continues to explore funding opportunities to complete this important project.

Metra: 147th Street – Sibley Station

Expected completion: June 2024

Budget: $21 million

This project is part of the Metra Electric Community Initiative, which is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar plan to transform 13 stations on the line. As part of this rehabilitation, the 147th Street – Sibley Station will be made 100 percent ADA accessible. The scope of work includes a new station entrance and accessible path, construction of a new elevator, platform reconstruction with a new canopy, platform lighting, headhouse replacement, a kiss and ride area, and parking rehabilitation.

Construction activities are ongoing at the station, including installation of elevator equipment, platform panel installation, pulling wires in the platform conduit, and installing decorative tile at street level of the headhouse.

Pace: South Campus in Markham

Expected completion: September 2024

Budget: $38 million

Pace has made significant progress on the construction of their South Campus project located in Markham. This project includes the construction of a new acceptance facility, an office building, as well as associated site work and a new bus operator training course. The purpose of this project is to consolidate certain operational functions into one location. The acceptance facility will replace the existing facility in South Holland and include body repair work, mechanic training, farebox and radio repair, and sign and shelter shops. The office building will hold Pace's customer relations department, offices for other support staff, as well as training and conference rooms. It will also hold central dispatching, safety, operator training, and an IT secondary data center.

Activity highlights include the completion of the exterior construction of the buildings. Work continues on final elements in the interior of the buildings including framing, drywall, patching, and painting.

More funding is needed: Join the Transit is the Answer Coalition

The projects detailed in the PMO report show the investment of $7.6 billion into the region’s transit system. The Rebuild Illinois and PAYGO funds provided a helpful infusion of funding into the capital program and helped expedite overdue repair and replacement projects to move the system toward a state of good repair. However, it is not enough to address the long-term project backlog. The RTA’s Strategic Plan, Transit is the Answer, highlights the need for an annual investment of $3.5 billion over the next 10 years.

The current infrastructure investments detailed in the PMO report are part of the progress made to bring our region’s transit system one step closer to the vision outlined in the strategic plan of safe, reliable, accessible public transportation that connects people to opportunity, advances equity, and combats climate change. Join the Transit is the Answer Coalition to help to win sustainable funding for transit and build a better system for everyone who relies on it.

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Tagged in: Project Management Oversight | PMO | RTAMS | Capital Programming | CTA | Metra | Pace | RTA

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