Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson Successfully Concludes 11-Year Tenure

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Chairman Terry Peterson

Peterson oversaw $8B in key CTA investments, including Red Line South reconstruction, Your New Blue, 95th Street Terminal Improvement projects 

The Chicago Transit Board recently honored Chairman Terry Peterson for nearly 11 years of service to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and its customers. Chairman Peterson was originally appointed to the post on October 9, 2009 and his term will conclude on September 1, 2020. He is the longest-tenured Board chairman in the history of the agency.

“During Terry Peterson’s outstanding 30-year record of public service—including terms as 17th Ward Alderman, CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, and Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board—he has continually sought ways to deliver real, positive impacts for the communities he’s served,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “As Mayor of the City of Chicago and on behalf of our residents, I thank Terry Peterson for his tremendous service to the CTA and its customers, and hope that he will find ways to use his significant talents to continue to serve this great city.”

During his tenure, Chairman Peterson oversaw more than $8 billion in capital investments, like the ongoing, $2.1B Phase One Red Purple Modernization Program and the most significant progress, to date, on the $2.3B Red Line Extension. Other key capital improvements during his tenure have included the following marquee projects:

  • Your New Blue modernization project ($492M);
  • Red Line South Reconstruction Project ($425M);
  • 95th Street Terminal Improvement Project ($280M);
  • Wilson Station Reconstruction Project ($203M); and
  • Garfield Gateway Project ($50M).

In addition, during his term, CTA constructed four new rail stations—a fifth is currently underway at Damen on the Green Line—and another 40-plus stations have received or are expected to receive improvements, representing nearly one-third of all CTA rail stations. CTA has also repaired more than 70 miles of track and has replaced or overhauled nearly its entire rail and bus fleet since Chairman Peterson has led the Board.

“Serving as Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board has been the opportunity of a lifetime and has allowed me to help improve the lives of Chicagoans and visitors to this great City through transit for more than a decade,” said Chairman Peterson. “It has been my great privilege to serve Mayors Daley, Emanuel and Lightfoot, and I will forever remember all that we’ve been able to achieve as I’ve worked alongside three CTA Presidents—most recently, President Carter, my good friend and an extraordinary transit leader.”

Chairman Peterson also worked closely with CTA’s day-to-day leadership and staff on dozens of other important CTA initiatives focused heavily on diversity and inclusion issues at the agency. Perhaps most notable has been his long-time, successful push for improved job and contracting opportunities for Small- and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) during CTA construction projects.

In fact, it was at his urging during the Red Line South Reconstruction Project that CTA created a new, more inclusive model for engaging DBE firms and dislocated workers, and engaged the Chicago Urban League and the Cook Chicago Workforce Partnership to work with the prime contractors to engage workers from the South and West Sides, especially around the project footprint. His work then—and his ongoing partnership with President Carter to further expand that model—resulted in a significant expansion of the unique curriculum, initiatives and opportunities presented by CTA’s Diversity Programs Department today.

“Having worked closely with him since my appointment as President—and having known him for many years prior—I can think of no better example of what it truly means to be a public servant than Terry Peterson,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter. “Our shared vision of continuing to grow CTA’s role as a world-class transit leader has been our common goal and his indispensable leadership has been a key part of improving the CTA transit experience for our customers. His legacy will be felt here for many years to come.”

Chairman Peterson has also been a staunch proponent of CTA’s Second Chance program—an initiative that provides holistic job training curriculum and employment for ex-offenders and others who’ve experienced barriers to entering the workplace. Chairman Peterson has pushed for the program’s expansion over the years and worked to ensure that the best of the program’s participants could be considered for full-time CTA employment opportunities. Due, in large part, to his efforts, since 2011, Second Chance has doubled in size to become one of the largest and most successful of its kind in the country. Over that time, more than 1,200 people have participated in the program and more than 330 individuals have found full-time employment with CTA.

Chairman Peterson has spent more than two decades in public service, serving as Alderman of the 17th Ward for four years and as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority from 2000 to 2006. Peterson currently serves as Vice President, Corporate and External Affairs, for Rush University Medical Center.

Mayor Lightfoot is expected to name a successor to Chairman Peterson in the coming weeks.

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