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Metra next month will launch a new initiative aimed at helping small businesses obtain contracts with the agency. As part of its Small Business Enterprise Program, the Chicago-area commuter railroad's office of business diversity and civil rights will identify contract opportunities valued at $40,000 to $100,000 to set aside specifically for small businesses verified by the agency. Metra expects that 10 to 20 contracts will be set aside under this program in its first year, with plans to grow the program to include 50 or more contracts a year, agency officials said in a press release."Our goal is to increase opportunities for new firms to work with Metra that have never worked with our agency before," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. "This new program will assist leveling the playing field and allow a greater number of small businesses to compete for and win Metra contracts."To bid on a contract set aside for the program, a company must complete Metra's small business verification process and provide proof of doing so. On average, this process takes 60 to 90 days from the time the agency receives the application and all required documents, Metra officials said.Over the past three years, Metra has committed $104.4 million in contracts awarded to disadvantaged business enterprise firms, agency officials said.
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