CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited Freedman Seating Company on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Senator Durbin toured Freedman Seating's facility with the company’s leadership and representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority.
An open discussion with Senator Durbin and the CTA included topics such as:
• workforce development initiatives
• skilled labor and manufacturing careers
• community college training
• federal transportation bills
• contracts (current and future opportunities)
Family operated since the late 1800's, Freedman Seating manufactures seats and seating related products for many different applications, including bus, rail, marine, delivery truck, specialty and commercial vehicle seating. As a joint venture between Freedman Seating and USSC Group, 4ONE is a leading supplier of heavy duty passenger seats for city bus, motor coach and rail markets.
In 2013, 4ONE was selected to produce the seating for 300 new clean-diesel CTA buses. “A world-class transit system is a key component of our city’s economic plan,” said Mayor Emanuel at a press conference. “By modernizing our bus and rail fleets, we are providing our passengers with a more comfortable, safe and reliable transit system while making critical improvements that boost the local economy with new jobs.”
The CTA has been receiving the new clean-diesel buses since last May and is expected to have the full new fleet by the end of 2015. The Chicago Transit Board approved the awarding of a $148 million contract to Nova Bus, $131.5 million of which came from federal funding through the Highway Trust Fund’s transit programs. The most recent extension of the Highway Trust Fund is set to expire at the end of the month.
“Whether you travel by plane, train, or automobile, you rely on a national transportation network built with federal investment in order to get you where you’re going,” said Senator Durbin at a Press Conference in April. “Chicago has one of the finest transportation systems in the nation and we need the resources to maintain it. Long-term transportation bills used to be an area of bi-partisan agreement. I hope they'll soon be again. We need a commitment to our transportation network that will create jobs and keep America competitive in the global economy.”
Public transportation ridership has reached its highest levels in 58 years with more than 10.8 billion trips last year, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Freedman Seating, along with 4ONE, APTA, and industry leaders have been pushing for a long-term bill.
“Long-term investment in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure provides a tremendous boost to our nation’s economy. In fact, one dollar invested in public transportation results in four dollars in economic returns. And one billion dollars invested in public transportation yields 50,000 jobs,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy in a statement to Congress.
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