"Bus and train stops on the $331 million Opportunity Corridor will be the links to existing neighborhoods, a way to make sure the [Opportunity Corridor] roadway does more than whisk commuters from Interstate 77 to University Circle," reports Alison Grant.
But the newly hired director of project development for the corridor, Marie Kittredge, said a top priority in her new job is "buttressing the case for hanging onto three threatened rapid stations along the route."
At-risk stations include the East 34th Street and East 79th Street stations. "It would cost $5 million to $8 million to make the improvements to the East 34th Street station, but perhaps three times as much -- $16 million to $18 million -- to modify the Red Line station."
The problem with those funding needs? "State and federal grants have steadily fallen and become more restrictive, while local sales tax revenues fluctuate with the economy. Annual ridership has been climbing from a recession-driven low in 2010. Yet RTA's 49.2 million passengers last year still amounted to a 15 percent drop from a demand peak of 57.9 million riders in 2008."