CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Transit Authority officials, and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn last week announced plans for a nearly $500 million overhaul of the Chicago Transit Authority's rail transit line that links downtown to O'Hare International Airport.

The plan calls for track, signal, and station improvements on the O'Hare branch of what's known as the Blue Line. More than 80,000 people use the line daily.

"This plan represents a huge investment in CTA riders and visitors traveling to Chicago via O'Hare and many vibrant communities along the North and Northwest Sides. It's also part of our latest efforts to modernize our transit system for the 21st century," Emanuel said in a statement.

Funding for the four-year project that will begin next year is expected to come from local, state and federal sources including $344 million from the city and CTA, $100 million from the state, and $47 million from the federal government. The improvements are expected to shave 10 minutes off the travel time from downtown to O'Hare.

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