The new train car smell of the CTA's new(ish) 5000 series cars hasn't yet been replaced by the stench of urine and vomit and the floors aren't yet fully sticky with spilt soda and covered with sunflower seed shells and already the agency is looking to drop some big cash on a bunch of even newer cars. The call has gone out that the agency is looking for bids to build up to 846 new cars for somewhere north of $2 billion. Math tells me that the totals break down to around $2.4 million per train car because apparently these things are made out of solid gold and moon rocks.
By comparison, those 5000 series cars which half the city doesn't get to use anyway cost only $1.6 million per car (706 cars at $1.137 billion). As for other cities, recent bids for new BART train cars in San Francisco came in around $2.5 million while the cost of New York City's subway cars seem to fall in the $1.3-1.5 million range.
As for where the money will come from? Per Crain's, "The CTA did not immediately identify a source of funding for the 846 Series 7000 cars, which will come on top of the 706 Series 5000 cars. But according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, all should be in hand by 2022."
So, to recap, our in-debt city is about to spend $2.4 million - from a source of cash that doesn't exist - per train car for you to have a nicer vessel in which to be late every day to work while that switching problem at the Belmont stop gets sorted out. I don't have official numbers at my desk but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that these will be among the most expensive hobo toilets ever made.
At least the agency is leaving seating configurations up to the bidder, meaning there's a chance you won't have to stare directly into the crotch of the person in front of you while your Brown Line train does a Tokyo drift around the S-curve between Armitage and Segwick.