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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will advance a plan to make its entire rail system fully accessible over the next two decades, CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. announced Wednesday.Known as the CTA Strategic Accessibility Program, the initiative will outline short- and long-term measures to make CTA's rail system compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) by 2036, CTA officials said in a press release.The program also includes plans to repair or replace existing rail system elevators.Currently, nearly 70 percent of CTA's 145 rail stations are wheelchair accessible. Of the 46 stations not equipped with elevators, many are over 50 years old. More than half of those stations are expected to receive ADA improvements in the coming years as part of larger capital improvement projects, such as the Red and Purple Modernization Project, the Wilson Station reconstruction project, and the "Your New Blue" project to improve the Blue Line O'Hare Branch. Over the next year, a working group consisting of the city of Chicago, CTA, disability community members, architects and others will prepare a cost estimate and schematic schedule for achieving the accessibility goal, which will be dependent on funding, CTA officials said.CTA officials will solicit public comments and take them into consideration before the working group's report is finalized in early 2017.
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