The $3.6-billion Red Line Extension project in Chicago secured a funding commitment from the Federal Transit Administration Sept. 14 for $1.97 billion in grants, advancing efforts to extend the line 5.6 miles to the city's Far South Side. If appropriated and funded, the grant would be the largest transit infrastructure award ever secured by the Chicago Transit Authority.

CTA issued a request for proposals to three contractor teams who are bidding to build the extension once engineering is complete next year. CTA expects construction of the project to begin in 2025, pending federal approvals and funding, with preconstruction work including property demolition and utility relocation to start late next year.

“Today we moved yet another step closer to providing residents of the Far South Side with access to rail service by moving to phase two of the procurement process," Dorval R. Carter Jr., CTA's president, said in a statement. "In this phase, we issued the RFP to the qualified firms—one of which will ultimately build the Red Line Extension.”

Proposed Track Alighnment

The proposed Red Line extension will have four stations from 102nd to 130th Streets on the far South Side of Chicago.
Infographic courtesy of CTA

Proposals will be evaluated on criteria that includes experience, price, workforce programs, inclusion of disadvantaged business enterprise-certified firms and minority-owned firms in the project, as well as other factors, according to the CTA.

Earlier this year, CTA preselected three design-build teams: an FH Paschen, Ragnar Benson, Milhouse Engineering and Construction and BOWA joint venture; Kiewit Infrastructure; and Walsh VINCI Transit Community Partners. 

CTA said $950 million in funding approved by the Chicago City Council in 2022, and other sources of monies, are expected to make up the balance of the overall $3.6-billion project. President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2024 discretionary funding budget request asked Congress to earmark another $350 million for the project.

The project extends the line from the terminus at the 95th/Dan Ryan station to 130th Street. Plans call for four new rail stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue and 130th Street, which would accommodate connections to bus, bicycle, pedestrian and park-and-ride facilities. A new railroad and maintenance shop near 120th Street would be delivered under a separate project contract, CTA said in a statement.

The Federal Transit Administration did not immediately respond to requests asking about when it expects the 2024 federal funding for the project to be appropriated by Congress. CTA representatives said the funding commitment was the result of the work of several local political leaders, as well as the result of repair and modernization efforts over the last 10 years in other parts of its system that put it in a position to win the federal commitment.