Daley Dubs New CTA Czar

38-year-old has held several top spots

Mayor Daley is expected to name a new boss at the Chicago Transit Authority today, and the financial state of the agency may make the job less than appealing.

Richard Rodriguez, 38, appears to be on the express train at City Hall as he takes on the CTA and it's crippling $242 million budget deficit.

Rodriguez, who was named by Daley last year to head of the city's aviation department, also acted as commissioner of the city's building department. While with construction and permits he's been credited with slashing the wait for building permits by 40 percent.

Prior to that, he ran the Chicago Housing Authority and was a field attorney for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Riders at the CTA Fullerton Avenue station Thursday morning admitted that Rodriguez faces a tough challenge.

When asked what he would like to see from the CTA, one commuter said, "Just some consistency, some quickness with ... the construction at some of the stations."

A female rider said she isn't worried about the agency.

"As long as the trains are rolling and I can get to work on time," she said she'd be satisfied.

Rodriguez is said to be cut from the same cloth as his predecessor, "love-him-or-hate-him" Ron Huberman.  He's a no nonsense manager who, one observer said, "doesn't smile much."

His appointment comes at a time when there's increased pressure at City Hall to place Hispanic candidates in leadership roles.

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