For Chicago's El, big decisions must be made to modernize the nations' second largest transit system and alleviate it routine budget shortfalls.
"The century-old elevated train system here is as much a city fixture as the towering skyline and the piercing blue waters of Lake Michigan.
But deteriorating tracks and trains, chronic budget shortfalls and a region ever more dependent on rail service are forcing Chicagoans to confront the possibility that the system, commonly known as the El or the L, may be at a breaking point.
'We're living on borrowed time,' said Frank Kruesi, the president of the Chicago Transit Authority, which runs the rail service. 'The fact is, there's no magic wand when we're looking at modernizing a system that's 100 years old in a very dense urban environment.'"