PI Original Angela Caputo Thursday March 5th, 2009, 6:08pm

A Look At The Transit Wishlist In Chicagoland

This week, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) posted the most comprehensive list to date of how mass transit systems in the six-county metropolitan region will benefit from the federal stimulus package. Anyone hoping to get their two-cents in ought to act ...

This week, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) posted the most comprehensive list to date of how mass transit systems in the six-county metropolitan region will benefit from the federal stimulus package. Anyone hoping to get their two-cents in ought to act quickly, since the public comment period closes tomorrow, when CMAP’s transportation committee puts the region’s five-year transit agenda to a vote. From there, individual transit agencies will have the authority to begin applying for and spending the stimulus cash on their own.

Here’s how the $414 million in mass transit money set to flow into the region will be distributed by agency: $240 million (or 58 percent) will go to the CTA; $141 million (or 34 percent) will go to Metra; and $33 million (or eight percent) will go to Pace. Another $32 million will be divvied up beyond the Chicago region.

We’ve plucked out some highlights from the full project list, which is available here and includes both the agency’s original federal funding requests, as well as the revised amounts in light of the stimulus bill:

CTA
- $183 million to replace buses ($55 million from stimulus)
- $58 million for bus overhaul ($5 million from stimulus)
- $80 million for preventative maintenance (all from stimulus)
- $133 million for rail car overhaul ($7 million from stimulus)
- $24 million for signal upgrade ($5 million from stimulus)

Metra
- $7.9 million for new 35th St. station ($6.8 million from stimulus)
- $54.5 million bridge rehab, replacement (all from stimulus)
- $1.7 million commuter car improvements (all from stimulus)

As we’ve noted before, the stimulus did not provide nearly enough funds to cover all the maintenance and expansion mass transit advocates say is needed. As this map of the CMAP projects shows, the few long-neglected upgrades to existing Metra lines will pale in comparison with the millions spent updating buses and rail cars (click the button in the upper right corner to expand):

By contrast, here’s a map developed by the Metropolitan Planning Council showing what a “smart growth” mass transit expansion would look like (click the image for larger version):

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