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CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool today to unveil a comprehensive $205 million initiative that will rehabilitate and modernize the agency’s bus and rail maintenance facilities, which will benefit commuters and the local economy with the creation of more than new 500 jobs.
“The CTA is the backbone of the city, keeping our people and economy moving and growing,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Investing in our infrastructure is key to Chicago’s continued growth and not only will this initiative ensure commuters have safe and reliable service for years to come, it spurs the creation of hundreds of jobs.”
The combined bus and rail maintenance and repair facility modernization project will create more than 500 quality, good-paying jobs, including positions for skilled workers in the electrical, sheet metal, plumbing and pipefitting trades.
Today's announcement continues the Emanuel administration's commitment to modernize the CTA at every level through investments that will reduce costs over time and bring the agency's infrastructure and assets to a good state of repair. The majority of the investment, $130 million, will be used to upgrade the agency's seven bus maintenance and repair facilities as well as equipment used for repairs. The remainder will go towards upgrades at rail maintenance and repair facilities.
Of the agency’s seven bus maintenance and repair facilities, four are approximately 20-30 years old – having been built between 1984 and 1995. The remaining three facilities are more than 55 years old. The 77th Street garage, built in 1903, is the agency’s oldest bus maintenance and repair facility and still has rails embedded in the floors from the street car era.
“Conditions at some of these facilities are so poor that we have to use extra staff to make up for the inadequate equipment that can neither support more modern vehicles nor accommodate the space needed for the increasing number of 60-foot buses we’re adding to the fleet,” said Claypool. “Rehabilitation of these facilities and equipment will create a safer and more efficient work environment for our employees, which will help speed up vehicle repairs and lower the cost of making the repairs. For our customers, this will mean vehicles are returned to the streets more quickly and allow for more reliable service.”
Rehabilitation of the bus maintenance and repair facilities will begin in early-2013 and continue through 2015. Work will include the repair or replacement of critical maintenance systems, including bus fueling/servicing facilities, bus hoists, inspection pits and wash racks; expansion of the South Shops heavy maintenance facility to accommodate the increased number of articulated buses in the fleet; and the installation of a new surveillance camera network and other security enhancements at all bus facilities. Federal formula funds and CTA sales-tax bonds will be used for the initiative.
“No more patchwork repairs – we’re once again fixing the right things the right way. The deteriorated and non-functioning bus facility support systems have an immediate and direct impact on our ability to properly and efficiently prepare vehicles for daily service in a timely fashion,” Claypool added.
As part of the comprehensive repairs, administrative offices, break rooms and restrooms at all facilities will also undergo repairs, deep cleaning and upgrades to provide an improved work environment for employees.
Buses provide roughly 60 percent of all rides taken on the CTA each year, serving all of Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. In 2011, bus ridership jumped by more than 4 million from the previous year, reaching 310 million recorded bus rides.
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