Contact Contact
Bird's eye view of Pace busses and trucks inside a warehouse.

Maintaining and improving the system

The capital program includes the funds used to invest in maintenance plus any improvements and expansions of the system. 

The region has a 10-year need of over $40 billion, of which about 15 percent can be funded with the current 5-year capital program. The majority of the need is for maintenance projects for the transit system's 1,500 miles of track, 7,500 vehicles, 400 stations, and 70 maintenance facilities.

The 2024-2028 capital program contains $5.975 billion in funding, but more is needed to achieve regional priorities such as more equitable and sustainable transportation, and better accessibility. Explore the region's capital projects on an interactive map.

Where does capital funding come from?
How is capital funding spent?
Sunset clouds above train tracks.

The 2024-2028 Capital Program

The current capital program is available in the Adopted 2024 Operating Budget, Two-Year Financial Plan, and Five-Year Capital Program and in an interactive format on the RTA’s Mapping and Statistics website (RTAMS) on the Regional Capital Program page. The proposed 2024-2028 five-year capital program totals $5.975 billion. 

The Service Boards are working to bring the system up to a state of good repair while also advancing regional priorities including: providing a more equitable transit system, achieving full accessibility, and transitioning to sustainable forms of transit.

  • CTA’s five-year capital program has $3.615 billion programmed for capital expenditures and debt service. CTA’s equity projects include the Red Line Extension to 130th Street and the Bus Slow Zone elimination program. CTA’s accessibility projects include several stations that will become accessible that are funded in the All Stations Accessibility Program. CTA-funded sustainable transit projects include the purchase of electric buses and electrification of bus garages.
  • Metra’s five-year capital program has $1.947 billion available. Metra’s equity projects include the Auburn Park Station and Harvey Transportation Center. Metra’s accessibility projects include station ADA rehabilitations. Metra’s sustainable transit projects include the purchase of zero-emission locomotives and trainsets.
  • Pace’s five-year capital program is $413 million. Pace’s equity projects include Pulse Network expansion along two corridors: 95th Street and Halsted Street. Pace’s accessibility projects include the purchase of new Paratransit vehicles. Pace’s sustainable transit projects include the purchase of electric buses and the electrification and expansion of three bus garages: North, River, and Southwest Divisions.

The new performance‐based capital allocation process is used for federal formula and PAYGO funding, starting in 2025 and moving forward. Funds are distributed based on three principles:

  • Addressing capital reinvestment need
  • Incentivizing faster completion of projects
  • Advancing regional policy priorities

The 2024-2028 Capital Program has been evaluated using 15 metrics that were identified in Transit is the Answer. The evaluation metrics for each project can be found in the 2024 Adopted Regional Transit Budget Capital Program Appendix. The evaluations for all projects in the 2024-2028 Capital Program are also available on the RTAMS Capital Program website with search functionality and a downloadable dataset.

2025-2029 Capital Program

The 2025-2029 Capital Program is developed throughout 2024. The RTA encourages public engagement. Key activities are:

  • May 16: Five Year Capital Program Call released by the RTA Board
  • Early June: Preliminary federal funding estimates for the region are released
  • Early August: Preliminary capital funding estimates by Service Board are released
  • September 12: RTA Board reviews capital funding amounts for adoption
  • October/November: Service Boards hold public hearings on their Proposed Five-Year Capital Programs
  • By November 15: CTA, Metra, and Pace boards review and adopt Five Year Capital Programs to submit to the RTA
  • November 22: Service Boards present their Five-Year Capital Programs to the RTA Board
  • November/December: RTA holds public hearings on the regional proposed Five-Year Capital Program
  • December 19: RTA Board reviews regional Five-Year Capital Program for adoption

Asset Management and Project Oversight

Cars and trucks driving on the highway with a bus in its own lane.

Project Management Oversight (PMO)

The RTA is responsible for ensuring that the Service Boards are spending capital funds and managing their capital projects effectively and efficiently. The RTA conducts periodic project reviews with Service Board project managers to ensure that capital projects are being implemented according to scope, on schedule, within budget and according to established project management guidelines. 

Read the June 2024 PMO report

Strategic Asset Management

The RTA, as part of its financial oversight function, has historically maintained an interest in ensuring that the Service Boards have sufficient funding to operate and maintain their physical assets. For many years, the RTA has facilitated regional funding campaigns, overseen the issuing of bonds to provide funding for capital investments, and monitored the delivery of major projects of each of the Service Boards in order to achieve this objective. These efforts have been challenged for decades, as the lack of consistent, reliable capital funding has led to aging assets, unreliable service, and an enormous backlog of unmet capital funding needs.

Under current FTA rules, the Service Boards are now required to maintain Transit Asset Management programs, plans, and datasets for submission to the National Transit Database (NTD).

The RTA still maintains an interest in regional capital funding activities and has transitioned its TAM activities into a strategic asset management (SAM) framework to monitor the state of good repair of all of the regional transit assets of the system as a combined portfolio. The SAM function provides RTA with the tools to track mid- and long-term regional investment needs and to inform capital programming and planning processes for strategic investments, as referenced in the Framework For Transit Capital Investment and the Potential Impacts of State Funding on Transit State of Good Repair report..

Recent capital funding blog posts

Metra rail cars parking station.

How Chicago transit agencies are using historic capital funding for critical projects

At the end of each year, the RTA reviews, adopts, and monitors the annual operating budgets and five-year capital pro...

CTA, Metra, and Pace Accelerating Efforts to Electrify Fleets

Riding public transit is one of the most sustainable modes of travel, and the transit system is one of the strongest ...

RTA to measure capital projects on equity, climate impacts, and more

The Chicago Region is home to one of the largest transit systems in the nation with approximately 1,500 miles of trac...

Copyright © 2024 Regional Transportation Authority. All Rights Reserved.