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Chicago financing ‘bus rapid transit’

To connect downtown

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Chicago leaders are funneling more than $7.3 million in tax increment financing toward a “bus rapid transit” line downtown, according to WBEZ91.5:

The money will combine with an announced $24.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration to speed up trips between Union Station, the Ogilvie Transportation Center, several Chicago Transit Authority lines, Streeterville and Navy Pier.

“About 50 percent of the commuters who come to work every day in Chicago’s central business district arrive by bus or train,” said Peter Skosey, vice president of the Metropolitan Planning Council, a nonprofit group working on the project. “If they’re getting off at those Metra stations in the West Loop, it’s quite a hike over to North Michigan Avenue or even just to State Street. So this really facilitates the use of transit for downtown Chicago.”

Bus rapid transit, known as BRT, delivers many benefits of rail at a fraction of the cost. The most advanced BRT systems have sprung up in Bogotá, Colombia; Guangzhou, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Ahmedabad, India.

BRT remains largely unknown in the United States. Modest systems are running in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Eugene, Oregon.

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