CTA Picks Local Company to Make Bus Seats

Officials say deal with Humboldt Park company an economic boost for the city

Officials are calling a deal with a Humboldt Park company to make seats for new CTA buses a win-win for the local economy.

The CTA signed a $148 million contract to purchase between 300-450 new buses earlier this month, with seating made by Humboldt Park company Freedman Seating.

The deal with the 120-year-old company will inject $8.25 million into the economy and create up 100 new jobs, a third of which require skilled trades such as machinists, welders and engineers, according to a CTA news release.

"By investing, we're not only creating jobs and improving the city, but we're creating our manufacturing jobs here in the city of Chicago, and I think that's a win-win situation not only for the residents, the taxpayers that will be added to the Freedman family and put roots down here," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a news conference at the factory.

The new 40-foot buses will replace older models still in the system.

Also Wednesday, the CTA released numbers showing that its ridership grew in 2012 to its highest annual total in the last 22 years.

There were 545.6 million rides taken on the CTA in 2012, a 2.4 percent increase over the previous year, according to a CTA news release.

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