Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn announced that the Wilson Red Line station is due for a renovation, with plans to fully update the Uptown travel hub. According to 46th ward Alderman James Cappleman‘s website release, work is slated to begin in 2012 with an estimated completion date of 2014.
Here’s the story from the Chicago Tribune:
Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel found common ground Thursday, talking up an additional $646 million in state funding for work on the CTA Red Line, the system’s busiest train route.
The money will be spent largely on rebuilding the tracks on the southern part of the Red Line, where riders should see five minutes shaved off a trip from 95th Street to downtown when the track replacement is complete in 2015, CTA President Forrest Claypool said.
Stations at the Clark/Division stop and the Wilson stop will be completely rebuilt during the work, Claypool said. He said it’s possible those stations will need to be closed for construction. Several other stations will also receive more modest improvements.
The latest injection of state funding, which had been expected, means about $1 billion in state, federal and city money is being devoted to the Red Line rehab.
The backbone of the CTA train system needs more work, however. Another $2 billion to $4 billion is needed to overhaul most Red Line stations and track on the North Side and Evanston. Emanuel also made a campaign pledge to extend the Red Line south from 95th Street to 130th Street, which could cost $1.5 billion.
The long checklist of upgrades needed for city trains and roads and bridges is a big reason why Emanuel earmarked proceeds from a Chicago casino to infrastructure needs. But Quinn has said the major gambling expansion pending in Springfield is overstuffed, and has threatened to veto it, much to the mayor’s chagrin.
On Thursday, Emanuel touted the latest track and station improvements as a way to bring the line into the 21st Century.
“You can’t keep the city growing on a 20th Century infrastructure with a 21st Century economy,” Emanuel said at a news conference at the Red Line station east of U.S. Cellular Field at 35th Street.
Quinn championed the 2009 construction measure that’s the source of the state money.
“Public transportation is more important than ever to get people to work, to get people to school, to get people to shop, or wherever they want to go to have entertainment,” Quinn said.
- Nick Passarelli