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CTA hosting meetings to introduce potential subcontractors for RLE bidders

Photo opp at an info table on the Red Line extension at a South Side community festival. Photo: CTA

Prospects are looking very good for the proposed $3.6 CTA Red Line Extension proposal on Chicago's Far South Side. Last December the Chicago City Council approved the controversial transit tax-increment financing district for the project, which is projected to raise $959 million for the extension. In March, President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2024 discretionary funding budget earmarked another $350 million for the project.

And on March 12, the transit agency identified three bidders for the project: FH Paschen, Ragnar Benson, Milhouse and BOWA Joint Venture; Kiewit Infrastructure; and Walsh VINCI Transit Community Partners. The teams were picked after the transit agency issued a Request for Qualifications last fall.

The CTA most recently demonstrated that the RLE is getting real by inviting local small businesses and companies owned by women and people of color to a contracting networking event with those bidders. A press release the transit agency published on Friday announcd the meeting this week at the CTA's downtown headquarters said the gathering would help these business owners work "meet with prime contractors for opportunities to work on this project."

The event takes place Thursday, June 8, 9 a.m. to noon, at 567 West Lake St. Register for the meeting, called "Meet the Contractors – Short Listed Primes event," online here. The presentation will begin at 9:30.

The disadvantaged business enterprises and small businesses invited to Thursday's event will not only meet the teams that have been selected to make proposals for the RLE project. The DBEs will also learn about sub-contracting opportunities for the four-station, five-mile-long rail extension, the agency says.

Photo opp at an info table on the Red Line extension at a South Side community festival. Photo: CTA
Photo opp at an info table on the Red Line extension at a South Side community festival. Photo: CTA

“CTA has awarded more than $250 million to 96 unique, minority or women owned firms as part of the Red and Purple Modernization Phase 1 project. Forty of these firms had never previously conducted business with CTA,” said Juanpablo Prieto, CTA director of diversity programs. “These great numbers did not happen overnight; it came through months and years of networking, supporting DBEs, and planning with the prime contractors to create opportunities for DBEs to get their foot in the door and compete. CTA is very proud of these accomplishments, and we look forward to doing the same, if not better, on the Red Line Extension project.”

Businesses and contractors who show up will get an update on the Red Line project, info on upcoming contracting opportunities, plus background on how to get registered to do business with the transit agency. Notably, the CTA states in its release, "Although the proposed RLE project is still in development, there are plenty of prospects for robust DBE participation throughout the project."

The CTA promises is will host many events to help get DBE-certified companies and other loyal small businesses get involved with the RLE project to help the agency meet its DBE goals. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 18, between 10 a.m. to noon, at Olive Harvey College, 10001 S Woodlawn Ave. Register online here.

You can contact the CTA’s diversity programs at People and companies who want to want to attend future RLE DBE events can learn more here.

All-in-all, the CTA's strategy of hosting meeting to encourage DBE firms to get involved in the Red Line Extension seems like a good strategy to help maximize the benefits of the project to the Far South Side.

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