Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Transit Authority Begin Search for Manufacturer to Build New, Modern Rail Cars and Create New Jobs

October 16, 2014

Thanks To Historic Partnership With Labor Leaders, Bid Solicitation Includes First-Ever U.S. Employment Provision To Promote Job Creation

As part of a commitment to encourage the creation of good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs, Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool today announced that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has officially kicked off the search process for a manufacturer to make the CTA’s next generation of rail cars as part of the agency’s modernization of its rail fleet.

The new bid solicitation also is the first in CTA history to include a ground-breaking provision that asks bidders to provide the number and type of new jobs they will create related to the production of the new rail cars, an agreement reach by the Mayor, CTA and the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) in July 2014. The provision will also ask bidders to outline their job recruitment and workforce training plans.

“Today we move closer to two important goals: offering Chicagoans a better commute on modern trains and creating potentially hundreds of new, good-paying jobs that contribute to economic growth and prosperity,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This process will increase competition among bidders and produce a high-quality product that helps us continue to build a world-class transit system.”

“We commend Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority for leading the way to good U.S. manufacturing jobs by including tools for jobs disclosure and evaluation as part of this new solicitation for bids,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “Using the language from the U.S. Employment Plan ensures we are working to not only improve Chicago’s transit system, but to help our tax dollars go further and create good jobs in the region and across the country.” 

The CTA today issued a new Request for Proposals for bids from manufacturers for the 7000-series. Bid submissions will be evaluated on a number of criteria, with their plan for job creation factoring into the evaluation of bids received. The initial base order will seek 400 rail cars, with the ability to purchase as many as 846 new cars. Earlier this year, the CTA opted to seek new bids in an effort to encourage a wider range of bids from rail-car manufacturers around the world after a 2013 Request for Proposals generated only two bid submissions. 

In addition to the new job-creation provision, the new bid solicitation removes a previous requirement that the 7000-series be compatible with current CTA cars.  Other changes from the first bid solicitation include:

  • Adding two exterior cameras on each rail car and nine interior cameras, including two interior cameras  in the operating cab
  • Consideration of alternative technologies or configurations for car systems like doors, brakes and HVAC
  • Increasing the base order to 400 cars, up from 100

 

The new 7000-series rail cars will replace CTA’s oldest rail cars, which are more than 28 years old.  The estimated total cost for the rail cars is $2 billion, funded through a combination of federal and local funds.  When the new cars are in service, expected as early as 2018, the CTA will have one of the youngest fleets of any U.S. transit agency.

The Mayor, President Claypool and other CTA officials earlier this year met with CFL representatives to discuss the rail-car procurement and its job creation opportunities.  CTA has tailored its plan for its procurement, drawing on the experience of Amtrak and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, both of which included U.S. employment provisions for their purchases of trains and buses. 

The 7000-series procurement is just the latest effort by the Mayor and CTA to promote job creation.  Several recent large-scale construction projects have generated jobs in construction, engineering and other building trades, including the 95th Street Terminal, construction on which began this fall; the Wilson station reconstruction, which will begin this fall; the ongoing Your New Blue project to upgrade stations and tracks along the Blue Line’s O’Hare Branch and theRed Line South reconstruction in 2013—which not only created about 1,000 construction-related jobs but also more than 400 bus operator positions.

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