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Eminent Domain

CTA Red Line Extension: Full Speed Ahead as CTA Begins Condemning Private Property for the Project

June 30, 2023

The extension of the Red Line through Chicago’s South Side has been talked about since the late 1960s.  The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) formally announced the Red Line Extension project in 2006 and finalized the preferred alignment (route) in 2018.  In 2023, the CTA selected three teams to present proposals to design and build the project [1] and began filing lawsuits pursuant to its power of eminent domain to acquire property.  These recent actions by the CTA indicate that the Red Line Extension is closer than ever to becoming a reality.

Proposed Red Line Extension

Today, the Red Line provides service between Howard on the north side of Chicago and 95 th Street on the south side.  The Red Line Extension is a $3.6 billion project that would extend the Red Line south for 5.6 miles, from 95 th Street to 130 th Street. The project will include four new stations at 103 rd Street and 111 th Street near Eggleston Avenue, Michigan Avenue near 116 th Street, and 130 th Street near Altgeld Gardens.  Plans also call for construction of rail car storage and a maintenance facility along the route.  Major construction is scheduled to start in 2025.  The CTA President refers to the Red Line Extension as “one of the single biggest investments in the Far South Side in decades.” [2]

Funding to extend the Red Line will come, in part, from a newly established Transit Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) that was approved by the City of Chicago city council in December 2022. The TIF is expected to generate up to $959 million for eligible costs.  In addition, President Biden included the Red Line Extension Project in his proposed budget for 2024, which, if approved, would provide approximately $350 million in funding for the project.

CTA Using Power of Eminent Domain to Extend Red Line

The CTA has identified 307 parcels for which it needs to acquire some, part, or all of the property as part of the Red Line Extension.  Earlier this year, the CTA began filing  lawsuits in the Circuit Court of Cook County to condemn private property it says is necessary for the RLE Project.

If your property is in the path of the Red Line Extension, there are a few things you should know.  The CTA must pay just compensation for your property.  Before the CTA can file a lawsuit to acquire your property under its power of eminent domain, it must make you an offer of just compensation to purchase.  The offer will explain how much of your property the CTA wants to take and offer you a specific dollar amount for that property.  The offer will be based on an appraisal, and the CTA should include a copy of the appraisal as part of the offer.  Whether you are a business owner or a resident, if you are required to move, the CTA must also pay for certain costs associated with your move.

Ryan & Ryan has represented property owners against the CTA and other railroad eminent domain projects for decades, including property owners impacted by the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project, the Red and Purple Modernization Project, and the 95 th Street Terminal Improvement Project.  If you receive an offer from the CTA, an attorney at Ryan & Ryan will review it, for free, and then discuss the offer with you at no charge.

[1] (accessed June 16, 2023).

[2] (accessed June 16, 2023).

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