Stimulus in action: Blue Line work this weekend
This weekend, the CTA Blue Line will be running slowly from 10pm tonight through Monday, May 4, at 4am with shuttle buses replacing rail service between Western and Clark/Lake. The repair work and track upgrades (which continue through the end of 2009) are part of a "new project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" that the CTA claims will "make transit rapid again." The $56.6 million Dearborn tunnel project will lay 39,000 feet of new track in the Blue Line Dearborn subway.
Of course, this isn't the first time the CTA has upgraded with Washington greenbacks. The Clinton administration funded over $300 million in work on the Blue Line Douglas Branch. For years, I rode the 66 bus on Division where newer-model buses sported a plaque dedicated to a bill signed by President Clinton. There's more on the CTA upgrades at the CTA Tattler.
As to how far this money goes and how efficiently, Madrid's transportation system expansion has set the bar high. Consider that when Madrid expanded its subway system a few years ago, it did so at the low price of just over $30 million per kilometer and that in the ’90s it built more than 120 kilometers of subway in just 10 years.
This is only the beginning of the stimulus due to Chicago-area transport. High-speed rail is on the way, too.