CTA presents 2021 budget needs Federal funding and asks for your support


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) In their Thursday announcement about needing financial support from Congress to maintain services, asks the public to speak up before and during a virtual CTA public hearing on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. 

Proposed Operations Budget already has a deficit
According to the CTA, they are facing a $375 budget deficit in their proposed $1.64 billion 2021 Operating Budget*, due solely to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That could be an even worse situation if the U.S. Congress does not help transit agencies, across the country make up for continuing, unprecedented financial losses and lower-than-normal ridership. 

Services through the pandemic
“Over the last seven months, the CTA has provided an essential service to those who needed it the most: health care workers, emergency responders, grocery and manufacturing workers, and those needing to make essential trips,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “But in order to ensure we can continue to provide this critical service, we absolutely must receive additional funding from Congress.”  

Congress has already supported public transit with a funding package earlier this year. That helped transit agencies nationwide, including the CTA, to maintain service through 2020 and into early 2021. But further federal funding is needed to help transit agencies maintain funding.  

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) projects that if Congress or the Administration do not provide additional emergency federal transit funding, six out of 10 public transit agencies across the country will have to consider service cuts or other cost-cutting measure 

Capital Investments
In addition to the operations budget, the CTA administration continues to pursue capital investments.

The proposed budget includes a five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) of $3.4 billion. Those funds are necessary for continuing to invest in modernization and capital improvement projects that will provide safer, more reliable service for customers. That funding will improve transit experience through the continued expansion of public art, removal of slow zones and upgrades to transit tools such as Ventra.  

“Investment in transit infrastructure has always been an investment in a strong future for Chicago,” Carter said. “Further, continued investment in transit is directly tied to our city’s economic recovery, a way to promote jobs and opportunities at a time when the city needs them most.” 

Two projects for the Blue Line
The CIP is supported by funding from Restore Illinois, the 2019 state capital program that was the first in more than a decade. More than half of the capital funding will go toward previously announced major projects, including:  

  • Blue Line O’Hare Branch power improvements ($50M) 
  • Upgrade of the Cottage Grove Green Line station ($60M) 
  • Advancement of the Red Line Extension project ($327.8M) 
  • Phase 1 station improvements under the All Stations Accessibility Plan (ASAP) ($78M)  

Blue Line users have a two-fold interest in two of these projects: 

  • Blue Line O’Hare Branch power improvements
  • Phase 1 station improvements under the All Stations Accessibility Plan 

APTA estimates that with each dollar invested in transit, it in turn creates $4 of economic activity. “The devastating effects of the dual health and economic crisis only further highlight how much CTA’s long-term capital projects are urgently needed, and the importance of continuing to plan and identify funding for initiatives like ASAP and the Red Line Extension project,” Carter added.  

Other capital projects to continue or begin in 2021 include:  

  • Testing of the 10 new 7000-Series rail cars 
  • Quarter-life overhaul work on 5000-Series rail cars 
  • Roll-out of newest all-electric buses 
  • Start of station and track structure construction as part of RPM Phase One  

The Hearing
A virtual public hearing will be held on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. A link to view the hearing will be available online

Interested persons or agencies who wish to be heard by the Chicago Transit Board with respect to social, economic, environmental and other related aspects of the proposed 2021-2025 Capital Program of Projects; 2021 Operating Budget and Program; and the Financial Plan for 2022 and 2023 have choices for delivering their message. The Board will take those submissions into consideration before rendering their vote. 

There are three ways to submit comments: 

Written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m., Mon., Nov. 16. They may be submitted in any of the following ways:   

    • Via US Mail, CTA Board Office, 567 W. Lake Street, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60661  
    • Via drop off at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, 1st floor mailroom  
    • Via fax at 312.681.5035  
    • Via email   

To speak at the virtual public hearing, participants are encouraged to register prior to the hearing by completing and submitting a Request to Speak form online.

Individuals registered online by 6 p.m. on Nov. 11, the day before the hearing, will be called by the CTA, at the telephone number provided, during the Nov. 12 hearing so that they may make their statement.  

The third way to participate is when the hearing is in progress. Call 312.681.3091 in to speak. Individuals who pre-register to speak will be taken up first at the virtual public hearing. Individuals who call while the hearing is in progress will then speak in the order that they call in.  

At the virtual public hearing, an American Sign Language interpreter and a Spanish interpreter will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who require other accommodations to review the budget or to provide feedback should contact Amy J. Serpe, Manager, ADA Compliance Programs, via email or call 312.350.2301.  

*NOTE: Copies of the proposed 2021-2025 Capital Program of Projects, 2021 Operating Budget and Program and the Financial Plan are available for review in standard size print and large print at several libraries including the Harold Washington Public Library, 400 South State Street, 5th floor; West Town Branch Library, 1625 West Chicago Avenue. 



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