Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority reportedly talked privately about a no-bid deal with the company that produced the CTA's new train cars.
Emanuel's office told the Chicago Tribune the mayor backed off the discussions because of the "no-bid" aspect, but CTA officials said that wasn't what ended it.
The proposed $300 million contract apparently collapsed after a defect was discovered in some of the new cars, according to the Chicago Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch. The finding comes ahead of a City Council vote to authorize Emanuel to make partnerships in the private sector for his $7 billion infrastructure plant.
Hilkevitch says Emanuel and the CTA originally talked with Bombardier Transportation about building and operating a "South Side rail car overhaul facility." CTA officials told Hilkevitch talks began after the mayor was elected last year and lasted about 10 months.
The plan was centered on the mayor's focus to create Chicago jobs, a CTA spokeswoman said. But talks ended after the defect was found in March.
An internal transit authority investigation showed some steel parts installed underneath the new cars could break and potentially cause a derailment. There were no accidents because of the defective trains.
The CTA paid more than $1 billion for 700-plus cars from Bombardier. Though Chicago won't have to foot the bill for repairs, the transit authority had to bring back old trains to keep services running.
Hilkevitch said Emanuel's office wouldn't comment in detail on the deal.