(CBS) — The CTA is rushing to get federal financing in place for its Red-Purple Modernization Project before President Obama leaves office.
But the head of the Regional Transportation Authority asks, “What’s the rush?”
The CTA is looking to get a new tax increment financing, orTIF, district in place to help provide the local match for federal funding, amid worries that the modernization plan could get bogged down or even passed over if the financing is not in place by Jan. 20. That is when President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard says he is not worried. He says Trump is a New York developer who knows the value of good transit.
“We’ll get together with Philadelphia, Boston, Washington. D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and talk to our members of Congress to let them know that we need funding for mass transit,” Dillard said.
Dillard says he won’t be afraid to remind congressional Republicans that he’s a Republican, too. He says funding for transit is one of the few places where he believes congressional Democrats and Republicans can work together quickly.
“Transit and infrastructure is one of the places where Republicans and Democrats clearly agree we need to take care of, and it’s the perfect way to get the Congress and the administration off to a good working relationship,” he said. “Let’s pass a national infrastructure bill for our security and our economic development.”
CTA hopes to secure $1.1 billion in federal grants to shift the project into high gear. CTA administrators say they are not worried so much about a change in ideology as they are in a change of faces that would require them to sell the project all over again.