The big news of the day is the governor's potential bailout for the CTA (see next entry), but the agency's board also approved a contract at its meeting today that might make riders on the Blue Line happy:
The CTA board approved a $91.2 million contract for track work that would remove slow zones on the Blue Line from Addison to O’Hare by the end of next year.
Ridership on the Blue Line has dropped 5 percent since last year, partly due to riders being fed up with being stuck on slow-moving trains.
The contract award to Kiewit-Reyes would replace deteriorated track ties and fasteners that force trains to operate at reduced speeds.
The CTA is funding the work by issuing bonds against future federal funds. Huberman said federal guidelines would have prohibited the CTA from using these bond proceeds to plug the agency’s $110 million funding shortfall.
In other action, the CTA board also approved a contract for up to $2 million to rent an ultrasonic track testing vehicle on an annual basis for the next five years. The vehicle detects fractures and cracks in the rail like the ones that contributed to last year's Blue Line derailment.