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CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined CTA President Forrest Claypool today to announce the purchase and overhaul of nearly 1,500 CTA buses—an investment that will provide an almost entirely new bus fleet in the next two years.
“A world-class city needs world-class infrastructure, and this investment in our infrastructure will help millions of Chicagoans commute while creating hundreds of jobs throughout our city,” said Mayor Emanuel, who announced the purchase and overhaul work at the CTA Chicago Avenue Bus Garage, which has the largest percentage of buses slated for upcoming mid-life overhaul work. “This is exactly the type of investment we need to grow economic opportunity in Chicago for the 21st century.”
As part of today’s announcement, CTA is issuing a request for proposal for the purchase of 425 new buses — 325 standard, 40-foot clean diesel buses and 100 60-foot articulated buses, which will be a mix of hybrid and clean diesel engines. The purchase is estimated to cost $330 million, with funding coming entirely from the CTA through its sales-tax dollars.
Also, later this year, CTA will begin a $165 million project to completely rebuild 1,030 standard 40-foot buses. Buses will essentially be brand-new after receiving rebuilt engines, transmissions, suspensions, heating and air-conditioning systems, exterior repair and repainting as necessary, LED lights and other internal amenities. In addition, the 430 buses not originally equipped with particulate filters will receive them as part of the overhaul, which will help reduce harmful engine emissions.
“This is another example of Mayor Emanuel’s pledge to modernize the CTA with critical and prudent investments that will reduce the costs, over time, of repairs on our buses,” Claypool said. “We estimate that without these investments, we would see maintenance costs of more than $15 million by 2016. The savings we will realize will allow us to use that money for operational needs to better serve our customers.”
Buses undergoing the mid-life overhaul have been in service for seven-years and typically average 250,000 miles in stop-and-go traffic. This project is critical to keeping buses operating efficiently, smoothly and reliably—and to avoid the millions of dollars in additional maintenance that CTA would incur if work were deferred.
Also, funded with CTA sales-tax dollars, the rehabilitation project will create over 200 good-paying jobs.
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.
The environmental improvements brought about by the new bus fleet are also key to helping Chicagoans breathe a bit easier because the new buses will reduce by 55 percent the amount of asthma-causing particulates that are emitted from these vehicles.
These two initiatives, combined with last month’s announcement to purchase 100 articulated hybrid buses, will allow CTA to meet increasing ridership on popular, high-demand routes while reducing overcrowding on buses. Furthermore, every customer will soon be boarding a clean, modern, efficient vehicle with a smooth, comfortable ride.
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