CTA Assists Small Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic
Through the landmark CTA Building Small Businesses Program, CTA and Walsh-Fluor helped 10 small businesses working on the RPM project to secure $3.4 million in federal funds
The CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project and the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, RPM’s contractor, have helped disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) successfully apply for and receive $3.4 million in COVID-19-related federal aid.
The CTA with Walsh-Fluor and LISC Chicago created the “CTA Building Small Businesses” program in 2019 to provide financial and technical assistance to small businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) or that are seeking to become DBE-certified to be eligible to work on CTA projects. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, CTA and Walsh-Fluor have expanded their support to help companies apply for federal CARES Act loans, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
“These small businesses are helping CTA build new Red Line stations and tracks, and in our view, it is just as important to invest in our communities as it is in our infrastructure,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Given the strength of our CTA Building Small Businesses program with our partner Walsh-Fluor, it made perfect sense to go beyond our regular program assistance to help these businesses survive this unprecedented period.”
Paniagua Group, based in Arlington Heights, is one such beneficiary from participating in CTA’s Small Business Program and receiving guidance on successfully applying for federal COVID-19 funds. Paniagua, through working with Walsh-Fluor and CTA through its “CTA Building Small Businesses”, has successfully bid and worked on a CTA construction project because of its participation.
This spring, CTA and Walsh-Fluor held a virtual CTA Building Small Businesses session during which:
- Small businesses were provided information about how to swiftly assemble the necessary documents to successfully apply for federal funding.
- The program team created a guide outlining the capacity of both lending programs, who is eligible, and what financial information applicants should be prepared to submit.
- The team worked one-on-one with DBEs seeking loans.
- Thirteen (13) companies, including contractors and professional services, were successful in applying for loans that ranged in amounts from about $6,500 to $1.2 million.
The CTA Building Small Businesses Program was created to help small businesses bid on large projects like the $2.1 billion RPM project. The program is designed to help DBEs secure loans for working capital, equipment and other cash-flow needs. Launched in September 2019, the program has worked with dozens of small businesses to develop the capacity to bid on CTA projects like the RPM.
For more information on RPM, visit transitchicago.com/RPM.