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CTA Going All Out To Ensure South Side Residents Get Work On Red Line Rebuild

Much of the steel track, wooden rail ties, and ballast -- stones used to hold the rails and ties firmly in place -- are badly deteriorated along the Dan Ryan branch of the CTA Red Line, after 43 years of use. (Credit: CBS)

Much of the steel track, wooden rail ties, and ballast — stones used to hold the rails and ties firmly in place — are badly deteriorated along the Dan Ryan branch of the CTA Red Line, after 43 years of use. (Credit: CBS)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Transit Authority is taking extraordinary steps to make sure that South Side residents have a good shot at the jobs to be created the Red Line’s tracks are rebuilt through that area.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Andrea Zopp, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Urban League, says her group is reaching out to make sure South Siders are in line to the 400 bus driver jobs, 100 traffic aide positions, and the contracts resulting from the Red Line Track Renewal.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to work closely with the CTA, who is really concerned as we are about ensuring that these investments that get made in our community also get shared with our community,” Zopp said.

CTA Chairman Terry Peterson is intent on avoiding the embarrassment of protests over minority hiring that Metra faced.

“We’re trying to get ahead of it,” Peterson said. “The good news about the process today is that we haven’t let one contract, so contracts have been awarded today. As Andrea mentioned, we’re excited about working with the Urban League on this project.”

Last month, the Emanuel administration promised that a related project to expand the CTA Red Line’s 95th Street station will also have local community participation from beginning to end.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was blunt on the subject. He told reporters last month, “We’re not going to have a Metra on our watch.”

Job fairs begin Monday at Chicago State University.