TRANSIT: Chicago gets $120 million to modernize Blue Line

Four-year project will update prominent train line connecting to O’Hare International Airport

February 09, 2015

The Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) received a major boost for its planned modernization of the Blue Line last week, gaining approval for a $120 million federal loan for the project.

The Blue Line is one of the most popular in the city’s elevated train system, carrying 80,000 passengers daily between downtown and O’Hare International Airport. Under the CTA’s plan, dubbed Your New Blue, the Blue Line will receive upgrades to the track, power supply and signal system. CTA also plans to update stations along the line for greater accessibility and comfort.

The $120 million loan, provided under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), will cover a large portion of the total $408.7 million price tag. CTA also received $16 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program for the project in 2012. The rest of the funding will reportedly come from state and local sources.

The line last received a major upgrade in 1984 when it was extended out to O’Hare. The project is expected to take four years to complete.