- Published: 10 February 2015
As city officials trumpet news of a multi-million dollar expansion of the CTA’s Blue Line to O’Hare, state lawmakers from the Southside are once again wondering when the CTA will keep its promises to improve mass transit in their area.
“People who live in Skokie have a faster commute downtown than residents on the South Side,” said state Senator Emil Jones III, chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. “For decades the CTA keeps saying it can’t find money for the Red Line extension, but somehow it can find nearly half a billion dollars for the Blue Line.”
Jones’ frustration boiled over this week with the CTA’s announcement of a $492 million plan to redo the Blue Line. Federal transportation officials flew in to announce a $120 million federal loan for the project.
Meanwhile, on the Southside officials are left wondering when the needs of their communities are going to be addressed. Since the 1970s community advocates, church and business leaders have pushed to extend the Red Line beyond its current stop at 95th Street. There have been CTA plans and studies, town hall meetings and training programs to prepare people for possible work.
And once again nothing has happened, even as millions of dollars are devoted to other parts of the CTA system.