Washington, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the closing of a $120 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for major improvements to the Blue Line of CTA’s “L” rail service, which will upgrade tracks and stations between the downtown Loop and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Significant upgrades to the track, power supply, and signal system along the 19-mile stretch of the Blue Line between the Loop and O’Hare Airport stations will reduce and eliminate “slow zones,” resulting in faster, more reliable service. The over 80,000 riders who use the Grand-O’Hare branch daily will also see improvements to stations along the line to enhance accessibility and comfort, from brighter lights and cleaner tunnels to new elevators and artwork.
“The Blue Line is critical to the city of Chicago and the TIFIA loan reduces financing costs to ensure the CTA can complete this project and have a more robust capital plan going forward,” said Sylvia Garcia, DOT Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs.
In addition to the $120 million TIFIA loan, the four-year, $408.7 million Blue Line renovation (known as “Your New Blue”) will be supported by $16 million in DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds awarded to CTA in 2012, with the remainder coming from state, local, and other sources. The project represents the largest upgrade of the Blue Line since it was extended to O’Hare in 1984.
The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial non-federal investments. Each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. Since its launch, the TIFIA program has helped 49 projects turn more than $21 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation assistance into more than $76 billion in infrastructure investment across America.