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CHICAGO — On Monday, the CTA’s board approved a $38 million contact to study the environmental impact of extending the Red Line.

The study comes after the CTA announced the proposed expansion a couple years ago.

The Red Line would run along existing Union Pacific tracks with stations at 103rd Street, 111th Street, 116th Street and 130th Street.

The study is a necessary step to receive federal funding for the project, which would cost around $2.3 billion.

In a statement, CTA President Dorval Carter called the new study a major step towards building the long-discussed extension.

“The CTA is committed to ensuring that every community has access to public transit and they are focused on following the extensive, federally required process to the letter to make that a reality.”

The extension of the CTA’s busiest line would fill what activists have called a “transit desert” on the Far South Side.

The city hasn’t extended an El line since the Orange Line opened in 1993.

Construction on the train extension could start in 2022 at the earliest with service beginning in 2026.