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Maintaining and improving the system

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

The region has a 10-year need of over $36 billion, of which about 30 percent can be funded. The vast majority of the need is for maintenance projects for the transit system's approximately 1,500 miles of track, 7,500 vehicles, 400 stations, and 70 maintenance facilities.

The 2023-2027 capital program contains $5.7 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 2023-2027 Capital Program

The current capital program is available in the Proposed 2023 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 2023-2027 five-year capital program totals $5.724 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 $3.455 billion available for capital expenditures. 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 articulated electric buses and electrification of the Chicago Bus Garage.
  • Metra’s five-year capital program has $1.887 billion available. Metra’s equity projects include the Auburn Park Station and Harvey Transportation Center. Metra’s accessibility projects include a new Rail Car purchase and upgrades at Van Buren St. Station. Metra’s sustainable transit projects include the purchase of zero-emission locomotives and trainsets.
  • Pace’s five-year capital program is $390 million. Pace’s equity projects include the Pulse 95th Street line and Paratransit vehicle purchases. Pace’s accessibility projects the purchase of new community transit/on demand vehicles. Pace’s sustainable transit projects include north and southwest division electrification.

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

2024-2028 Capital Program

The 2024-2028 Capital Program is developed throughout 2023. The RTA encourages public engagement. Key activities are:

  • May 18: 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 14: 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 16: 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 14: RTA Board reviews regional Five-year Capital Program for adoption

Asset Management and Project Oversight

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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 December 2022 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.

Federal infrastructure dollars are flowing to the RTA system, with needed capital projects underway

Approximately $250 million in federal capital funding, largely from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)...

RTA Board approves capital amendment that adds three projects to five-year program to address safety, reliability, and bus electrification

The RTA Board in March approved adding three projects to the region’s five-year capital program that will focus on sa...

New performance-based Capital Allocation Structure relies on data and policy priorities to distribute funds

Ensuring that capital funding for the Chicago region’s transit system is spent wisely is a core function of the RTA. ...

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