Prepared by Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) staff in partnership with the CTA, Metra, and Pace, the draft regional Framework for Transit Capital Investments is intended to improve transparency in how public transit projects are chosen and funded in Northeastern Illinois.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RTA Board will address the Investment Framework later in 2021. See more about the Chicago region’s response to the pandemic on the Recovery page.
Why Northeastern Illinois needs a new Framework for Transit Capital Investments
In 2019, the region’s transit agencies worked together to advocate for passage of Rebuild Illinois, a $45 billion capital bill that became the first passed in Illinois in a decade. The bill would provide the RTA system with $2.6 billion over five years in state bond funding and an estimated $227 million annually in gas tax revenue, which nearly doubles the region’s previous five‐year transit capital program.
While a significant step forward, Rebuild Illinois alone is not enough to close the funding gap in transit capital needs and was passed before the COVID-19 pandemic put additional stress on the transit system’s current and future funding sources. Due to COVID-19’s many unknown impacts, which will likely continue affecting regional finances beyond this fiscal year, having a solid investment framework is even more crucial so the RTA and transit agencies can continue to advocate in a unified manner for funding to support the region’s transit system, no matter what the future holds.
Given the enormity of capital needs and the limitations of funding, Northeastern Illinois requires a transparent, equitable, and data-driven process for allocating capital funds to ensure that public investments meet clear regional goals for the transit system. In December 2019, the RTA Board of Directors passed an ordinance to create a Performance-Based Capital Allocation Process Committee that would develop more rigorous communications and reporting around the capital program, resulting in this Investment Framework document.