By Robert C. Herguth
Date of Publication: September 12, 2002
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Illustrating how serious the CTA is about building a "super Loop" rail line that wasn't even conceived until last year, the agency's president said Wednesday that coveted federal "New Start" dollars will be pursued for the Circle Line project.
The funding might be requested for other L projects as well, CTA President Frank Kruesi said after a board meeting. But the Circle Line--which would run about 13 miles through downtown to as far south as Bridgeport, as far west as the United Center and as far north as Old Town using new and existing track--will be part of any application, he said.
"This is certainly a--if not the--key one," Kruesi said. "We're positioning this in a serious way to go."
Based on the CTA's success rate, getting the money is realistic, CTA officials think. The agency was able to secure the much-sought-after federal grants and funding commitments for Blue and Brown line renovations.
Kruesi would provide no more details but previously said funding for the project--because of its whopping $1 billion-plus price tag--might have to come from two federal packages.
Regional Transportation Authority spokesman Dave Loveday said his agency, which oversees the CTA, Metra and Pace, isn't taking a position yet.
With intense competition from transit groups around the country for federal dollars, there must be agreement between the three local agencies on what projects will be pursued. Such cooperation helped the CTA and Metra win commitments for a record five grant packages in recent years, Loveday said.