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Metra's board yesterday approved a $64.5 million increase to the agency's 2016 capital program, bringing its capital spending plan to $251 million. The added funds came from an increase in federal dollars, a new federal grant, other new capital contributions and the transfer of funds from the 2015 operating budget, Metra officials said in a press release.In particular, Metra will receive an $11.3 million increase in federal funds due to the recently enacted Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. In addition, the commuter-rail agency recently won a $14 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VII grant to replace the Fox River Bridge on the Milwaukee West Line. The remainder of the funds for the $34 million bridge project will be supplied through a reallocation of $14 million in the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority's existing bond funds, along with a $6 million contribution from Canadian Pacific.The revised 2016 capital program also includes $12 million left over from last year's operating budget. That sum will be put toward the purchase of new rail cars or rehabilitating existing cars and locomotives as part of Metra's $2.4 billion modernization program. The program also now provides $5.5 million to rehabilitate the Calumet Station on the Metra Electric Line.
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