In this blog post, I want to round out our series highlighting the Strategic Plan’s priority projects for CTA, Metra and Pace. For the first time in recent history, we are including a list of real projects ranging from trains, buses, line improvements to signals that are all up for replacement or renewal in the next 10 years. They are really important and impact riders. Some of them are already underway, but none of them are fully funded. All told there is $30 billion worth of priority projects that are not fully funded.
Our first post covered the CTA and its $18 billion need over 26 projects. We followed up with Metra’s nearly $12 billion need across 10 under-funded projects. And finally, today I want to touch on Pace’s billion dollar need across 21 under-funded projects.
The following are just a few examples. Let’s take a look:
Pace has one of the largest service areas of any bus system in the country, and is working toward implementing its Pulse system. Pulse will be a modern example of arterial rapid transit that will have limited stop, express style service to improve travel times. It will also have specially designed stations with passenger amenities such as real time signage and snow melt systems.
The Pulse Milwaukee Line is under construction. New funding is needed to continue the expansion of Pulse Lines throughout the region.
10-year need: $51 million for future expansion of the program, all of which is unfunded.
Fixed Route Buses Expansion
Pace is looking to purchase up to 168 buses to expand service, including 70 buses for system wide service, 68 buses for Pace’s Pulse system, and 30 buses for Bus on Shoulder.
Service expansion will provide commuters access to more destinations, improve connectivity with the regional system, and increase ridership. The Pulse network will improve travel times and these buses will be outfitted with enhanced customer amenities. The enhancements to the existing I‐55 Bus on Shoulder will alleviate overcrowding, while expansion to other expressways will tap into new market opportunities.
10-year need: $94 million and all the expansion vehicles are unfunded.
ADA Regional Paratransit Program
You might be surprised to hear Pace’s largest need, at $193 million, is for replacement of ADA Regional Paratransit vehicles and equipment. Our population is aging and ADA paratransit ridership has doubled in the past decade.
Currently there is no funding for Regional ADA capital needs. A predictable capital funding source is necessary to meet growing Regional ADA capital needs.
Transit is the backbone of the region’s transportation ecosystem. People use it to get to work, school, restaurants and more. The transit system – and our investment in it – must remain competitive to ensure our region continues to thrive. These “Priority Projects” are key initiatives that the Transit Agencies would like to complete with a stable, dedicated capital investment program.
What can you do? Reach out to your State Representative and State Senator and tell them that transit funding is important to you. Join us in calling for a capital bill that prioritizes transit funding and brings public transportation in our region into the future.