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State

RTA spent more than $670K on public relations

CHICAGO (AP) — The Regional Transportation Authority has spent thousands of dollars on communications consultants, even as the transit agencies it oversees face a $30 billion infrastructure shortfall.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports (http://bit.ly/18kNLC6 ) RTA paid more than $670,000 to public relations firms since 2011. The newspaper obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The firms' duties included writing talking points and speeches for RTA leaders, building a campaign to promote public transit and redoing an RTA Fact Book.

RTA oversees Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace.

State Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, says RTA has "gotten away from their core mission" of coordinating transit agencies.

RTA Communications Director Susan Massel says the contracts are for work "beyond the capacity of the RTA's two-person communications department."

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

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