The Chicago City Council has approved a new Transit TIF district to support the funding of the Red Line Extension. Originally promised by then Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1969, the Red Line Extension will look to extend the CTA Red Line past 95th St all the way down to the city’s southern border near 130th St.
With work underway on the design, the $3.6 billion project will add another 5.6 miles of heavy rail and connect the Far South Side communities with 4 new stations. The tracks will be elevated from the 95th St station down through 119th where it will transition to grade-level tracks running down to its new terminus at 130th St. With four new stations, the Red Line will begin stopping at 103rd and Eggleston, 111th and Eggleston, Michigan Ave near 116th, and 130th St near Altgeld Gardens. The project also includes a train storage yard and maintenance shop facility, located along the new tracks near 120th St.
As part of the $3.6 billion price tag, the CTA needs to contribute a “local match” to secure the federal funding through the Federal New Starts funding program. The Red Line Extension’s Transit TIF will raise $950 million in increment to provide that necessary local funding.
Similar to a traditional TIF district, the Transit TIF allows for the increment raised to more directly benefit transit projects. The new district will include all parcels within a half mile of the Red Line bound by Madison St to the north and Pershing Rd to the south. Parcels already in TIF districts will be excluded from the Transit TIF.
With equity at its core, The Red Line Extension will help those in the Far South communities gain access to new resources both inside and outside of their neighborhoods. For those traveling to the Loop from the area around 130th St, taking the Red Line extension will cut off 30 minutes from their commute. While stimulating new economic development for these areas, the plan will also align with the city’s climate initiatives, creating a new option for residents that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps with the climate change mitigation effort.
Recently in 2022, the final Environmental Impact Statement was published, and the project team has reached 30% design completion. This fall, the CTA launched an RFQ for major design-build contractors and kicked off a more than year-long engineering phase for the project. During this time, they will actively work on securing the final federal funding to achieve a full financing package. With this engineering and financing phase targeted to wrap up in mid-2024, the CTA will look to award construction contracts in late 2024 and begin construction in 2025. The new Red Line Extension is targeted for a 2029 completion.