CLEVELAND, OH -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) today launched a $6.4 million track upgrade as part of National Infrastructure Week.
The 3.6 mile rail project, extending between the West Park Station and the Airport Tunnel, is the final portion of a multi-year $38 million effort to repair and improve the West Side Red Line.
Funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation's Transit Preservation Partnership Program, the project will replace 12,275 timber cross ties, improve track drainage, add signal systems, repair the Puritas Station platform, and provide for a full rehabilitation of the railroad track, said RTA’s Interim CEO and General Manager, Flounsay Caver.
“Transit systems across the country just like ours are taking this time to focus on the foundation of what makes this country move forward – a strong and sturdy, well-maintained infrastructure,” said Caver.
“We have a $4 billion dollar asset in our rail system. And now we are recapitalizing it, which means that we will preserve that asset at a fraction of the cost of new construction and, thereby, bring the system into a state of good repair.”
Caver said that over the last six years, RTA, through a combination of funding sources, has invested nearly $40 million in the Red Line by reconstructing the Brookpark Station, the Airport Tunnel and the tracks between West Park Station and West 30th Street.
“That’s not to mention all we’ve done on the light rail lines to upgrade and optimize track, modernize our signaling systems and rebuild our substations,” Caver said.
“The investments we’ve made to track improvement projects over the last few years are critical for keeping our valuable rail connection up and running. And riders not only enjoy and rely on it, but we’ve demonstrated that RTA is an important asset to our community from which this region benefits economically,” Caver said.
Caver cited RTA’s recent economic impact study, conducted by Cleveland State University, which found that transit's impact on local employment totaled $485.8 million, measured in annual earnings brought home by those who depend on RTA transit services to get to work.
Linda Scardilli Krecic