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CTA, Pace and Metra to receive $1.4 billion in federal stimulus money

The three public transit operators expect to lose half of their fare revenue this year.

A CTA red line train
The RTA and three public transit operators expect to lose a combined $957 million in fares and other public funding this year.
Sun-Times file

Federal stimulus funds totaling $1.4 billion will be shared by the CTA, Pace and Metra, regional transit officials announced Thursday.

The CTA will receive $817.5 million, Pace will get $112.8 million and Metra will get $479.2 million — all in the form of reimbursements for operating costs. The money will be provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

More immediately, the Regional Transportation Authority — the region’s umbrella transit organization — allocated $35 million to be divided among CTA, Pace and Metra in the estimated amount that each agency lost in fares in the month of March due to the pandemic.

RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden and Chief Financial Officer Bea Reyna-Hickey shared the numbers Thursday during a virtual board meeting that was livestreamed for the public.

The RTA and three operators expect to lose a combined $957 million in fares and other public funding.

The breakdown of estimated losses:

  • CTA, $551 million
  • Metra, $301.4 million
  • Pace, $71.2 million
  • RTA, $33.9 million

CTA, Pace and Metra have been hit hard by sharp declines in ridership after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order that was announced last month.

Each operator expects a 50% decline in fare revenue in 2020, RTA officials said.

The estimate includes an expected return of some riders over the summer and another drop in the fall that would coincide with the prediction among health experts of a resurgence in coronavirus cases, said Reyna-Hickey.