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updated: 2/7/2013 8:05 AM

Chicago ready to spend $2 billion on new rail cars

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Associated Press

Chicago transit officials are planning to spend up to $2 billion on a new generation of rail cars to modernize the nation's second-largest mass transit system.

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday it is accepting bids for up to 850 new rail cars that would start to roll out in 2016. They would replace "El" cars that are around 30 years old or older, which is beyond the industry standard for a rail car's useful life.

The CTA began rolling out another series of newer cars last year that offer a smoother ride and more space.

The agency says the latest series planned will allow for continuous replacement of its aging fleet.

In the past, the CTA has waited as long as 20 years between rail car orders.

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