Current Capital Initiatives Program 2012
Metra’s 2012 Core Capital program is funded through federal Fixed Guideway and federal formula funds, as well as Metra farebox capital funds. The supplemental capital program includes Homeland Security funding, federal CMAQ (Congestion Mitigationand Air Quality) funding and State of Illinois capital bond program funds.
Metra’s fleet consists of 146 locomotives, 839 bi-level cars and 171 electric-propelled Highliner cars. Rail car rehabilitation costs Metra $650,000 per car versus $2.5 million for a new gallery car. Rehabilitation of rail cars also represents a significant cost savings for Metra, while extending the life of the equipment and improving service for our riders.
For Metra to maintain a state of good repair for its rail fleet, rail cars must undergo rehabilitation every 15 years, meaning that 56 rail cars per year must go through our rehabilitation program. Without a state capital program, Metra has been able to rehabilitate only 23 cars per year since 2005, resulting in an 18- to 19-year rehabilitation cycle. Our locomotives must be rehabilitated every ten years to maintain good repair. Currently, the limits on available capital funding have forced that cycle to be extended from ten to 15 years.
Through the State of Illinois Bond Program, Metra has initiated the replacement of Highliner cars used on the Metra Electric District. A total of $585.1 million has been programmed through the bond program for the purchase of 160 Highliner cars.
Remanufacturing locomotives extends the life of this equipment by an estimated 25 years. The cost of remanufacturing a locomotive is $1.7 million versus $4 million for a new locomotive. The 2012-2016 capital program provides $56.3 million for locomotive rehabilitation. The program also calls for the rehabilitation of commuter cars at $85.6 million and a major fleet component overhaul at $44.2 million.
Track and Structure
Track and structure is the foundation of the Metra system. Without the continual renewal of track components, retaining walls and bridges, Metra’s reliable on-time service would deteriorate and the wear and tear on our rail cars and locomotives would increase. Since Metra was formed, we have spent more than $1 billion on track and structure replacement.
To maintain a state of good repair, Metra has established a continual cycle of inspection and renewal for its track and structures. We currently replace
80,000 ties and 35 rail crossings per year. Ballast and track resurfacing is performed on a 4-year cycle, and since 1980, 83 bridges on the Metra system have been replaced.
Track and structure project highlights in the 2012-2016 core capital program include nearly $115 million for bridge replacement and renewal and retaining wall rehabilitation. The State of Illinois Bond Program includes $151.5 million for bridge renewal through 2014. Additionally, $33.8 million is programmed for the replacement of ties and ballast, nearly $11.4 million for railroad crossing replacement, and nearly $16 million for rail replacement and renewal.
Improvements funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act include $40.1 million for the reconstruction of 22 bridges on the Union Pacific North Line.
Signal, Electrical and Communications
Signal, electrical and communications systems are vital to safe railroad operations. Since Metra’s formation, we have invested $554.3 million to upgrade our signal systems. The Metra system has 572 grade crossings, of which 148 are interconnected with traffic signals.
The 2012-2016 Program includes nearly $20 million for signal improvements.
The 2012-2016 core program also includes $41.1 million to upgrade interlockings, which will improve operational efficiency and increase system capacity; nearly $35 million in electrical systems improvements; $6 million in communications improvements; and $97.3 million for the further installation of communications-based Positive Train Control (PTC). An additional $160 million is programmed through 2014 in the State of Illinois Bond Program toward for PTC which is a federally mandated safety system.
Facilities & Equipment
Metra has 24 rail yards and seven maintenance facilities. When Metra took over commuter rail operations in Northeastern Illinois, most of these facilities were out of date and inefficient. To date, $473.3 million has been spent to modernize our rail yards and shops.
The majority of these capital expenditures occurred more than a decade ago, and additional capital investments must be made. Equipment and vehicles have reached the end of their useful life and must be replaced. Upgrades and expansions are also necessary to accommodate future system needs.
The five-year core program includes more than $76 million for Metra’s support facilities and equipment. These projects can have an immediate impact on Metra’s operating budget since operating costs increase when equipment doesn’t run at optimum efficiency. The State of Illinois Bond Program will provide nearly $51.3 million in resources for yard improvements through 2014.
Another significant investment in this category is the Financial Systems Replacement project. The 2012 program includes $12 million for Metra to begin implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning system that will be compliant with financial system “best practices” and improve Metra’s revenue collection accounting. This system will: (a) support electronic data interchange; (b) be fully scalable and upgradeable; (c) use integrated and highly flexible analytical reporting tools and; (d) support microcomputer/network based software productivity tools.
Stations and Parking
Station and parking improvements are some of the most visible capital improvements to our customers. We have invested $967 million since 1985 to improve our stations and parking facilities.
The 2012-2016 core capital and State of Illinois Bond program allocate $218.5 million for station and parking improvements. Of that total, the State of Illinois Bond Program will provide resources for engineering and construction of station improvements throughout the Metra system totaling approximately $135.7 million.