Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Emanuel Administration has awarded an $8 million contract to a local company to supply the seats for at least 300 new CTA buses that will soon replace older vehicles on the streets.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Humboldt Park-based Freedman Seating Co. will add 100 new jobs as it manufactures sturdy lightweight seats for 300 to 450 new CTA buses.
“Their innovative seat design will reduce vehicle weight, and fuel costs for the CTA, and offer the durability necessary to withstand heavy-duty use for all seasons,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said.
Claypool was asked why a Michigan company was supplying the CTA bus seats until now.
“Frankly, I don’t know,” he said. “Because of Mayor Emanuel and Ald. [Emma] Mitts, we discovered that this company existed in Chicago. I wasn’t even aware of it, despite being the president of the CTA. Once we were aware of that, we took a hard look at them, and when we developed this bus order, we said ‘Why shouldn’t these jobs be here in Chicago, because they have the best product.’”
Emanuel said there are two such seat companies in the country.
“One’s in Grand Rapids, and one’s in Chicago. And, from now on, people that ride the CTA will be sitting on seats made here in the city of Chicago,” he said.
The mayor said the contract is part of his administration’s overall plan to modernize its bus and rail fleets.