CHICAGO — The Illinois General Assembly reluctantly approved a revised Chicago-area transit bailout package yesterday that will raise $550 million of new annual operating aid from a local sales tax increase and allow the Chicago Transit Authority to issue $2 billion of bonds to rescue its pension and retiree health care plans.

Ahead of the expected approval of the bill, the CTA this week launched a new request for letters of interest and qualifications from financial advisers and underwriters, setting a 3:30 p.m. deadline on Feb. 4 for firms interested in working with the agency on its operating and capital plans and upcoming debt issues.

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