RTA Region's Transit Capital Needs
Despite ranking at the top of the list nationally in service efficiency and effectiveness in operating cost per passenger mile, mass transit providers in Northeastern Illinois do not receive the funds necessary from federal and state sources to address reinvestment needs, according to a study released by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). This underinvestment in recent years has led to a multi-billion dollar shortfall in mass transit funding, delaying new equipment purchases and infrastructure improvements and is projected to increase over the next decade without a significant increase in capital funding.
According to the RTA’s Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report, transit providers in Northeastern Illinois will need $1.66 billion per year over the next ten years in order to fund normal replacement, rehabilitation and capital maintenance needs. In addition to the $16.6 billion needed over the next ten years, the region has $19.5 billion of deferred investment also known as a “capital backlog.”
The federal funds our region is expected to receive for capital investment in public transportation over the next ten years are estimated to be between $486 million and $612 million annually. That’s about half of what we’ll need. Most recently, the Service Boards—CTA, Metra and Pace--have supplemented much needed federal and state funds with federal loans under the Transportation Infrastructure and Innovate Act (TIFIA) program, issuance of State of Illinois bonds and local funding.