Omnibus Appropriations Bill Makes Funding Available for CTA Under Core Capacity Program

Red and Purple Line rebuilds were first to be accepted into new program created by Senator Durbin in 2012

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014 honors the $120 million included in the President’s Budget to fund a competitive grant program he created as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) which was signed into law in 2012.


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) became the first transit system accepted into the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s “Core Capacity” Program in November of last year.  As the only system to be accepted into the program thus far, CTA and the FTA have begun moving forward on the environmental work necessary for design and construction of the planned rebuilding of the CTA’s Red Line and Purple Line. 


“This is good news for Chicago commuters. As the only transit system currently accepted into the FTA’s new Core Capacity program, the CTA is poised to be the first to benefit from this funding once Congress approves this spending bill and it is signed into law,” said Durbin.  “Chicago’s future depends on our ability to improve our existing infrastructure to meet new demand.  This job-creating project will do that by doubling the capacity on the CTA’s most use rail lines.”


As a member of the Senate-House Conference Committee tasked with producing a national transportation funding bill, Durbin fought to authorize a program that would allow existing transit lines (or “core capacity” projects), like the Red and Purple Lines, to compete for FTA funding under the “New Starts” grant program. 


In June 2013, the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which Durbin is a member, approved a Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that included approximately $2 billion for the ‘New Starts’ grant program.  Of that funding, $120 million was set aside for the Durbin-authored core capacity program that the Red and Purple Lines were accepted in November of last year.


MAP-21 made significant changes to streamline the federal permitting and rating process for ‘New Starts’ projects. These new provisions were included with Durbin’s support to increase the efficiency and reduce the time necessary to move toward construction of nationally significant transit projects.  CTA will now have two years to complete planning and environmental work necessary for the Department of Transportation to determine if there is adequate justification and local financial commitment for the project to receive a full funding grant agreement from the federal government.