By Lynn Sweet
Date of Publication: February 4, 2000
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
WASHINGTON--The decrepit Douglas Branch of the CTA's Blue Line would receive a major overhaul under a $315 million deal to be announced in Chicago today.
"We are very excited about this new full funding grant agreement for Chicago," Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said on Thursday. "I know one of the lines we are going to be funding is the Douglas line, and that's one of the older lines in the country.
"My understanding is . . . that the speed along that particular stretch is very, very slow, which . . . makes it less efficient than it could be," Slater said.
Congress still must appropriate the money, but in practice, having the CTA's application approved by the Transportation Department means "you are first in line of the people who the administration has given approval to," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.
Members of the Illinois congressional delegation and CTA officials have for years tried to get money for the six-mile Douglas Blue Line, built between1895 and 1912. Because of poor track conditions, trains on the Loop-to-Cicero line have been traveling 15 mph instead of the usual 55 mph.
There is no owl or weekend service.