CHICAGO- The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is underway with a project that would extend the Red Line’s reach past its current ending point at 95th and Dan Ryan to three miles farther south, at 130th St. This proposed “solution” comes at the cost of $1.2 billion for taxpayers.

NTUI’s Nick Mestad testifies on behalf of the Gray Line solution to the CTA Board October 6, 2010.

The CTA cites the problem as being a lack of public transportation available to residents of the far south side of Chicago and the southern suburbs, resulting in congested bus and passenger conditions on the existing terminal stations. But this costly and time consuming solution (estimates have the extension opening in 2016) overlooks a much simpler and cost-efficient answer: utilizing the Metra Electric District Main Line that already stops at three of the four streets the Red Line extension wants to build at.

This Metra Electric solution, also known as the Gray Line, proposes that the Metra Highliner II trains be utilized by the CTA during certain times of the day to accommodate the transportation demands of the southern residents. The price for organizing this would be $200 million, a far cry from the $1.4 billion the CTA currently plans to spend. At the same cost as any CTA transit fee, southern residents can have easy access to public transportation without the CTA having to waste $1.2 billion of taxpayers’ money to build a costly extension.

Not only would the Gray Line provide CTA ‘L’ service to each of the streets to be served by the Red Line extension, but also the entire Southeast Lakefront Corridor; from downtown, through the Museum Campus and McCormick Place, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, the University of Chicago, Woodlawn, South Shore, South Chicago and the new USX Redevelopment.

The CTA has moved the proposed Red Line extension to its number one priority among major capital improvement projects and is already in the secondary stages of its inception. The alternative plans offered on CTA’s website do not consider the Gray Line option and overlook this cost-efficient solution.

To help prevent the CTA from wasting $1.2 billion of Taxpayer’s money, call Deborah Lopez, CTA’s Senior Officer for Government Relations at (312) 681-2708 and recommend the Gray Line Solution.

For more information on the Gray Line Proposal, visit http://www.grayline.20m.com/

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