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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board on Wednesday approved a $1.5 billion operating budget for 2017, along with a $3.5 billion five-year capital budget.The operating budget freezes fares for the eighth year, agency officials said in a press release. The CTA is continuing to focus on increasing revenue through advertising, retail concessions and non-fare sources.The agency has kept fares stable by reducing ongoing maintenance costs after modernizing its bus and rail fleet. CTA also has cut costs by pre-purchasing diesel fuel and electricity at "historically low levels," agency officials said.Meanwhile, the capital budget provides funding for rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones, continuing to modernize rail and bus fleets, and removing rail slow zones. In addition, CTA next year will select a final alignment for a proposed Red Line Extension from 95th Street to 130th Street and perform additional engineering work. Also in 2017, the agency will continue its Red and Purple modernization program, which includes rebuilding four Red Line Stations and constructing a rail bypass.The agency proposed the budgets last month.
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