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The Connector: Proposed Rail Transit Expansion

The Connector Initiative is a plan to improve the mobility of people in Chicago's Central Area by providing a new high capacity transit service.  The new service will connect with and extend the reach of the existing transit rail network to far corners of the .12-square-mile urban core.  New businesses and jobs will be generated that will be accessible to communities throughout the City and the region. 

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Project Scope

This Initiative involved identifying the best ways to: 

  • Add needed transit capacity in the fastest-growing part of the city

  • Significantly increase developable central area land

  • Plan phased construction to keep capital outlays manageable

  • Provide an opportunity to reduce the cost and complexity of land acquisition needed for transit given the central area’s abundance of unused rail right-of-way, vacant land, and publicly owned land

Project Summary

At the time of the Initiative, a booming central area strained the ‘L’ and expansion was essential if growth was to continue. The CCAC team proposed a ‘Connector’ rail line to ease crowding, triple the size of core, and promote neighborhood revitalization at modest cost. Learn more about this Initiative through the full project summary below. 

Project Summary

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Policy Paper

This white paper proposes the construction of a new central area transit line (the “Connector”) to add needed capacity in the fastest-growing part of the city. The paper calls for construction of 14 miles of new transit line, approximately 70% of which would be located on or adjacent to existing rail right-of-way, vacant land or public property. The Connector would be built in phases and could be funded through a combination of a special service area (SSA) and a “transit TIF” (tax increment finance district). Click on the link below to read the entire proposal. 

Policy Paper


The Case for Rail Transit Expansion in the Chicago Central Area devised a plan to expand the current 'L' transit system. View the entire proposed Connector Route below.

Full Route 

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Crain's Chicago Business news detailed the CCAC's work and the potential economic implications of the CCAC's proposal in the article, The $100 million dream: MacArthur may fund better Loop, Obama library transit. Click the link below to read the full story. 


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