02/07/2013 05:14 pm ET

New CTA Cars? Agency To Spend $2 Billion On Another New Fleet Of Rail Cars

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday plans to spend up to $2 billion on another new fleet of up to 850 rail cars it hopes to have in place by 2016.

According to the Associated Press, the CTA is now accepting bids from companies interested in manufacturing its latest generation of rail cars.

The CTA, facing complaints from some riders over the Bombardier-built 5000 Series' center-facing seating, has promised they will closely analyze designs for the new fleet, the Chicago Tribune reports. The CTA still has about 516 cars of the 706 they ordered that the agency expects to have in action in 2015.

The new "7000 Series" cars would replace cars that are three decades or more old, ABC Chicago reports. Without the purchases of a new fleet of rail cars, the average age of its cars would surpass two decades by 2022, nearing the industry standard 25-year rail car lifetime. The first new cars could begin to be delivered in 2016, according to the CTA.

The new cars would help modernize the transit system and improve service, though transit officials told the Tribune the agency was unable to predict when they'd have the cash available to purchase the 7000 Series cars at this time.

Earlier this year, the CTA raised the price of its multi-ride passes, a move the agency estimates will generate about $65 million in revenue. The CTA's 2012 operating budget faced a $277 million deficit.



CTA 5000-Style Rail Cars