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CTA Gave Apple No-Bid Contract For North/Clybourn Renovation

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 3, 2010 5:20PM


Remember last month when the Chicago transit Authority, beaming at the results of the North/Clybourn station renovation, said that they would open up naming rights to anything they owned to the highest bidder?

Guess who didn't have to bid against anyone for the naming rights for the North/Clybourn renovation? Mick Dumke reports over at Chicago News Co-Op that the CTA simply let Apple spend nearly $4 million on the renovation project. In return, Apple received a 10-year lease on the naming rights to the station and the right to advertise where they see fit in the station, at rates set by CTA. Red line riders can see the result of that decision as they're being blinded by Apple advertising as they enter the station.

The deal has been widely praised for turning over a cleaner, better looking station quickly. But the fact remains that Apple had no competitors in the bidding process, so who knows who might have been able to bid on the renovation and what CTA could have received in compensation. This lack of transparency regarding competitive bidding is the main point against privatization, which has quickly become a hot-button issue in the mayoral campaign.