Nearly a year and a half after it was signed into law by President Obama, one of the innovate programs created under the bipartisan Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, transportation funding bill is finally ready to be implemented. Under the umbrella of the New Starts program – the largest federal funding source for transit projects – MAP-21 created a new funding category for "core capacity" projects that upgrade existing systems to increase capacity.
The CTA is poised to become the first transit agency in the nation to take advantage of the new funding stream, reports Stephen J. Smith. "The core capacity grants had been delayed a few years since the bill’s passage while the FTA worked out rules for the program. But according to Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.), the FTA has granted approval to the Chicago Transit Authority to apply for core capacity funding for its $2-4 billion project to rehabilitate the Red and Purple Line viaduct north of the Loop, from the Belmont station up through Evanston."