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  #2021  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2007, 11:22 PM
ArteVandelay ArteVandelay is offline
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Originally Posted by Marcu View Post
The CTA has essentially turned a blind eye to overwhelming evidence of bid collusion on several projects.

Do you have any basis for this statement or are you just throwing it out there with no backup whatsoever? Do you think there was collusion by the initial 2 Brown Line bidders, when their bids differed by about $100 million and both got thrown out? In the end neither of them took a single penny of Brown Line work. How about the Douglas Blue Line job in which you had three bidders in reasonable proximity? Do you even know if the companies working the Brown Line projects are making money doing so? I don't know the slightest information about Madrids transit system, or how they acheive the costs they do. I do know that the engineers estimates for infrastructure construction in the US and in turn Chicago is often dramatically off. I could get into the reasons if you would like, but there is no single simple answer. Working on an active transit system, in a union environment, with designs required to meet ADA approval, with all kinds of restrictions on impacting trains especially during rush periods is expensive, period.

You mentioned contractors sitting in their trucks - a couple things - as VLF said contractors are signed to lump sum contracts - their employees sitting around doing nothing is simply bleeding their bottom line, not the CTAs. That being said contractors are only allowed to work on CTA tracks with flaggers during weekdays between 9AM and 3PM, so as not to impact morning rush hour. Losing nearly 25% of an average work day most definitely impacts costs, and odds are pretty good this is not factored into an engineers estimate.

In the end, contractors will bid based on two things - what the job costs, and what the market will bear - based on how hungry they are for work and how hungry their competitors are for work. Contractors are in the business of making money, and making a profit on a job is not collusion but good business on the contractors end.
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  #2022  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2007, 1:42 AM
Marcu Marcu is offline
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^ First, I never said anything about contractors sitting on their asses. I think that was someone else. Second, the bids coming in for projects like Grand reconstruction warrant an investigation. The bids alone are sufficient evidience to dig a bit deeper. To press charges? No. Hence the investigation. CDOT has not given a sufficient reason for why the bids were 2 or 3 times higher than what was estimated.

I've worked in antitrust litigation. For most municipal projects, the bids coming in tell 90% of the story. You'd be surprised, however, how often municipalities put up road blocks to outside investigations or discovery requests for no clear reason or incentive. I won't speculate about the possible reasons.
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  #2023  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2007, 10:02 PM
jjk1103 jjk1103 is offline
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....I don't submit much in this thread because I don't know much about transit, but I think that maybe there should be two threads....one for true transit issues, and one to allow people to ventilate about the financing mess in Springfield....it seems that I have to go thru 20-30 posts to find one that has something to do with construction, etc....
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  #2024  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2007, 10:15 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by jjk1103 View Post
....I don't submit much in this thread because I don't know much about transit, but I think that maybe there should be two threads....one for true transit issues, and one to allow people to ventilate about the financing mess in Springfield....it seems that I have to go thru 20-30 posts to find one that has something to do with construction, etc....
Well hopefully the all of the f*ckups down in Springfield will finally get their acts together and pass a funding bill in the next month & a half so that this thread can go back to being more about construction & growth.
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  #2025  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2007, 2:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcu View Post
the bids coming in for projects like Grand reconstruction warrant an investigation. The bids alone are sufficient evidience to dig a bit deeper. To press charges? No. Hence the investigation. CDOT has not given a sufficient reason for why the bids were 2 or 3 times higher than what was estimated.
I'm not in construction, so I can't speak to any exact percentage impact on the construction cost, but the reasons given for the overbids were:

1. The estimate was based on the Chicago Ave. reconstruction, which wasn't an apt comparison because Grand is a much more constrained site with almost zero area for construction staging (a similar staff/consultant screwup as the original Brown Line estimations which were derived from the Blue/Pink station reconstruction costs).

2. An estimate that was several years old in a market where inflation in construction costs have been 5-10% year.

The estimate was something like $32 million. Project staging I could see easily adding 25% to the project cost, for the same reason as the Brown Line; you're limited in 1) how many workers can be out there at once and 2) the length of uninterupted time they have to work. Add a few years of inflation at 5% annually, and add a premium because of the shortage of construction crews in the city, and the $65 million low bid begins to at least seem in the realm of comprehension, if still a bit high.
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  #2026  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2007, 2:59 AM
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Jaroslaw Jaroslaw is offline
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An interesting point from MikeToronto about decentralized transit on another thread, encapsulates my own skepticism about the Star Line:

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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
We already have that, and transit use to second-tier downtowns is not very high at all. The only one that achieves higher % of transit use is North York Centre. And even that one is only in the 20-25% range of people using transit to get to work.
De centralized mini downtowns in the suburbs, just do not attract ridership, because they are not central to the entire area. Vancouver has shown this, as they have promoted decentralization and town centres, and their transit ridership is the lowest of all the big Canadian cities.

Downtown Toronto has lots of room for more jobs. Last time I checked, downtown Toronto only had 400,000 jobs. Well below the level of downtown jobs in other big cities like Chicago(750,000), Paris(1 million), London(1 million), and ontop of that promoting job growth in the suburbs just increases sprawl. No matter what, commute times increase as jobs move further out, because jobs are not central to the entire region anymore.

The best thing to do is focus more on downtown Toronto, and on select subdistricts in Toronto like North York Centre, etc, which are still central.
That is the only way Toronto and other cities will see increased transit use.

I worked for the regional transit system here, and I alwys got customers who had to commute from one suburb to another, and often they would say the same thing "why can't this job just be in downtown Toronto". Many of these people live in the outter suburbs, and even they can tell that a job downtown is easier to get to, then a job in another suburb halfway across the region. Public transit can get you downtown within an hour or less from most points of the Greater Toronto Area. That is faster then you can get across the region in any sort of express transit.
We gotta move back to the centre to boost transit use.
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  #2027  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2007, 3:01 AM
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<< The bids come in so high on transit work because all the contractors know that the city is not serious about keeping costs down. And bidders know just as well as the city does that construction costs will not affect the big issues that will sink the CTA; paratransit and the the legal framework of operations, union labor requirements, and an unmotivated work force will.
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  #2028  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2007, 6:14 PM
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A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.
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  #2029  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2007, 6:49 PM
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VivaLFuego VivaLFuego is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.
...or they could just pay for a spot in a lot/garage, i.e. paying the cost the driving/parking imposes on the system. Of course, if he's going somewhere to party, there may be legal issues with following that up with the operation of a motor vehicle (one of the reasons Chicago is a great party town: in addition to 24-hour transit, 24-hour plentiful cabs, the highest per capita in the US).
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  #2030  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2007, 2:27 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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^ Yup. Cabs = great partying.

I know first hand
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  #2031  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2007, 7:49 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.
What's new about the ban? There have been winter parking bans for at least the dozen years I've lived here.
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  #2032  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 3:07 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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zzzzzzzzzzz........

Eh?

Whatever..

zzzzzzzzzzz........

Dec. 10, 2007
Madigan proposes major gambling expansion
(AP) — House Speaker Michael Madigan showed his hand in gambling negotiations Monday, proposing a major expansion that would raise $1 billion a year through three additional casinos and thousands of slot machines at riverboats and horse tracks.
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...12-10&id=27394

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  #2033  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 4:05 AM
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^ the 'insider' word on the Madigan proposal is that he put it out there knowing it would fail, just to say he tried. His plan is 1) too ambitious in seeking to reorganize gaming oversight for more accountability....why would legislators want that??? and 2) doesn't punish Chicago enough relative to the rest of the state. He proposes a significantly reduced license fee of only $200 million for the Chicago casino (which is actually necessary to make the thing financially viable in the first place), whereas the state was hoping they could connive Chicago into gifting them $800 million to conveniently plug a budget a gap (thereby also destroying Chicago's ability to successfully operate a casino, given Illinois' nations-highest 50% gambling tax rate on gross receipts). His bill also mandates a certain percentage of casino revenue set aside for school construction, particularly in "needy" areas with a firm 20% earmarked for Chicago Public Schools.

There is so much animosity going on Springfield. Chicago's only hope is to convince the rest of those assholes that they need us waaaaay more than we need them. Until they come groveling to Madigan and Daley for a deal, nothing good will happen. Madigan seems to get this, inasmuch as he was only really serious about trying to get the sales tax plan passed to fund transit operations (since thats what Chicago needs). Chicago doesn't need a statewide capital plan....the rest of the state, particularly the booming exurbs, need one like all hell: new schools and road widening. No rush for Chicago to bail them out by overpaying for a poorly-thought out casino. They know that's the only leverage they've got on us. But all Madigan has to do is make until January 1st, when a simple majority can pass a bill...and then dare Jones and Blago to let it die.
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  #2034  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 4:11 AM
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  #2035  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 4:26 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
But all Madigan has to do is make until January 1st, when a simple majority can pass a bill...and then dare Jones and Blago to let it die.
^ That's a great point. It is becoming abundantly clear that nothing will happen until this 2/3 majority requirement comes to pass. Downstate has Chicago by the balls as long as their votes are needed to pass a bill.

My only question is, if a bill is passed in early January and Blago still vetoes it, what will happen?
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  #2036  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 5:58 AM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ That's a great point. It is becoming abundantly clear that nothing will happen until this 2/3 majority requirement comes to pass. Downstate has Chicago by the balls as long as their votes are needed to pass a bill.

My only question is, if a bill is passed in early January and Blago still vetoes it, what will happen?
The bigger question to me is, what will happen with the union, whose contract offer (with higher employee benefits contributions) expires Dec 31? "Job action"?

Madigan would be fine with Blago vetoing the bill; after all, Mike is thinking "Lisa 2010" for governor, so anything that gets Blago covered in sh!t is worth doing as far as Madigan is concerned.
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  #2037  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 6:05 AM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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A. HELL YEAH, lets secede from those shitty downstaters...

B. What is that about Jan 1st and only needing a simple majority? Why is 2/3 required right now and what is it required for?
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  #2038  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 6:19 AM
Marcu Marcu is offline
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^ Seems to me that all the animosity is between Chicagoans: Madigan (who's lining up his daughter for gov), Blago, and Emil. The downstaters and GOP suburbanites are waiting for the Chicago reps to implode to retake the governor's seat next election.
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  #2039  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 2:48 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
B. What is that about Jan 1st and only needing a simple majority? Why is 2/3 required right now and what is it required for?
^ I believe that as 2/3 majority vote is needed to pass a bill while the State Legislature is not officially in session. I'm not clear on the reasoning, but my guess is that this protects us from abuse of power by preventing one Party from quickly meeting and passing a bill while the other Party is left out in the cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Madigan would be fine with Blago vetoing the bill; after all, Mike is thinking "Lisa 2010" for governor, so anything that gets Blago covered in sh!t is worth doing as far as Madigan is concerned.
^ At this point, I would take Lisa 2010 (if I had a vote), for the simple fact that I'll take consensus over the deadlock we've got going on in Springfield at this moment. If it takes a father-daughter relationship to get something done, then so be it..
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  #2040  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 4:19 PM
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^ Seems to me that all the animosity is between Chicagoans: Madigan (who's lining up his daughter for gov), Blago, and Emil. The downstaters and GOP suburbanites are waiting for the Chicago reps to implode to retake the governor's seat next election.
Downstaters really dislike Chicago, which is why they are willing to try to tank any transit funding measures (which they only refer to as a "bailout"). Meaning they won't even vote to support a regional sales tax that won't affect their taxes.
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