SIX MAJOR projects figure in Chicago Transit Authority’s application to the US Congress for New Start funding under the six-year reauthorisation of the TEA-21 programme. There is strong political backing for the proposals, some of which are already at the planning stage; they have a $4·4bn price tag.

Four extensions to existing lines are proposed - the Orange line from Midway Airport to Ford City, the Yellow line from Skokie to Old Orchard, the Red line south from 95th Street to 130th Street and Stony Island Avenue, and the Blue line from O’Hare Airport to Schaumberg. Also included is a start on the projected Circle route, CTA’s rival scheme to the Metra plan for orbital passenger service over Elgin, Joliet & Eastern tracks. Further grants will be sought to complete the rebuilding of the Blue line Douglas branch and to fund extra capacity on the Brown line.

A proposed light rail line in the Ogden Avenue/Carroll Avenue corridor would provide a link to the Illinois Medical District. Missing from the list is the proposal to run limited-stop services on both airport routes, which CTA says it will fund by contributions from airlines and other airport businesses.

H CTA and Chicago’s Department of Transportation have agreed $1m funding for preliminary design of the new Washington/Wabash station on the city centre loop, replacing life-expired structures at Madison/Wabash and Randolph/ Wabash. Work starts later this year on refurbishment of eight other stations.