CHICAGO — Underwriters interested in working on Chicago Transit Authority bond sales over the next two years have until Oct. 13 to submit their qualifications for review.

The request for letters of interest and qualifications closes at 3:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Oct. 13. The CTA will choose firms from its pool of qualified underwriters for transactions over the next two years or until a new selection process is completed.

Mayor Richard Daley last week recommended Terry Peterson — the former chief executive officer of the Chicago Housing Authority — to lead the CTA board following public finance banker Carole Brown’s departure. Daley appointed Peterson to the authority’s board and recommended that the board elect him its next chairman. The City Council must approve his appointment to the board.

The CTA faces a deficit in 2010 and has not ruled out service cuts or fare hikes. It had hoped that with a recent sales-tax increase it could end its diversion of capital funds to pay for operations. But this year it will use $128.6 million of such funds for operations and its proposed 2010 budget relies on a similar level.

The agency operates the second-largest transit system in the country, with bus ridership of 328 million and rail ridership of 198 million annually, up 5.4% in 2008 from 2007.

Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded the CTA’s $1.9 billion of pension-related debt to A1. The bonds are rated AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s. They are backed by sales taxes, public transportation aid payments, and a portion of Chicago’s real estate transaction tax. The CTA also has outstanding debt backed solely by federal grant funds.

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