Digest: CTA approves budget, but warns of possible cuts

News Wire Digest third section for Nov. 19: Honolulu rail system cost soars to $11 billion; Ohio commission awards matching funds to federal grant recipients

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More Thursday morning rail news:

CTA approves budget, but still faces cuts without federal help

The Chicago Transit Authority approved a 2021 operating budget of $1.645 billion on Wednesday, but warns significant service cuts could be on tap without additional federal aid. WTTW.com reports the agency faces a $327 budget gap without such aid, but CTA Chief Finacial Officer Jeremy Fine and President Dorval Carter said they are “cautiously optimistic” there will be additional federal help. The CTA board also approved a five-year capital plan with three major projects: completion of Blue Line upgrades, continuing overhaul on the North Side portion of the Red and Purple lines, and final development of the planned Red Line Extension on the South Side.

Latest estimate places cost of Honolulu rail system at $11 billion, projects completion 13 years late
The cost of Honolulu’s problem-plagued rail transit system is now $11 billion — more than double the figure in 2012 when the city signed a funding deal with the federal government — and completion is now estimated for 2033, 13 years later than originally plan. Honolulu Civil Beat reports those estimates for the 20-mile, 21-station system — a mostly elevated light rail line — came in a letter from Mayor Kirk Caldwell to the Federal Transit Administration, in which Caldwell asked the FTA to extend a deadline for $250 million in federal funding, which is slated to lapse at the end of the year. Caldwell asked for a one-year extension.

Ohio commission awards matching funds to four projects receiving federal grants
The Ohio Rail Development Commission has awarded grants which provide state matching funds to four projects which previously received Federal Railroad Adminstration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants. The Highland County Press reports R.J. Corman’s Western Ohio and Cleveland lines received $489,300; the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern received $462,000; the Youngstown & Southeastern received $350,025, and the Napoleon, Defiance & Western received $250,000. Information on the CRISI grants is available in this Trains News Wire story.

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