O'HARE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx Thursday announced that the renovation of the CTA's Blue Line will get $120 million in federal funds in an effort to shave 10 minutes from the trip from O'Hare Airport to the Loop.
Approximately $136 million of the $492 million Blue Line rehabilitation project's price tag will be paid for by the federal government, with $160 million coming from the state and $196 million from the city, officials said.
In addition to $120 million from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, the project will get a $16 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, Foxx said.
Heather Cherone says the timing of the event is notable:
Foxx — noticeably shivering in 13-degree weather despite nearby portable heaters — praised Emanuel for being "relentless" in his pursuit of federal money for transportation projects in Chicago, joking that when he gets a call on his cellphone and sees the 312 area code he knows it is the mayor calling.
Emanuel, who is up for re-election, said the Blue Line renovation project — which was first announced in 2013 — would provide a foundation for the modern Chicago economy his administration is working to build.
"These funds mean faster and safer Blue Line trips," Emanuel said at the Cumberland Blue Line station, one of 13 stations that will be renovated as part of the project.
The Damen, California and Western stations were renovated in 2014, and track between the Logan Square and Damen stations was rehabbed, officials said.
The project includes a $25 million renovation of the Jefferson Park Transit Center at 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave. — which includes stops for nearly a dozen buses, the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line and Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line, is expected to include an improved bus turn-around, new canopies, lighting, escalators and stairs, officials said.
The Jefferson Park TIF district is expected to contribute $3 million and the Portage Park TIF is expected to contribute $2 million toward the project, according to Ald. John Arena (45th).
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