Dorval Carter

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Dorval Carter

President of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

Clout and Influence

Dorval Ronald Carter, Jr., now President of the CTA, earned his bachelor's degree from Carroll University and went on to earn his law degree from Howard University. After graduating Howard in 1984, Carter went to work for the Chicago Transit Authority as a staff attorney. He worked his way through the ranks, eventually becoming the Acting General Attorney after then-General Attorney Joyce Hughes was caught up in a discrimination case.

Carter moved up to Deputy General Attorney in 1989, and shortly thereafter, was given his first (of many) federal transportation jobs. The same year, Carter was named to the Regional Counsel of the Federal Transit Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), based in Chicago. He was then named Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation and Regulation at the FTA, where he served from 1991 until 2000, but returned to the CTA as Executive Vice President, where he stayed for nine years.

Carter returned to the federal work in 2009, after being passed over for CTA President by Mayor Richard M. Daley, who instead appointed Richard Rodriguez, who’d had one year of experience as Aviation Commissioner. Carter instead took on an “entertaining job” working as top advisor and Chief of Staff to USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, an Obama appointee.

Carter said that when Mayor Rahm Emanuel won re-election in 2015, Emanuel called and asked him to return as President of the CTA to carry out his vision for transportation infrastructure projects. He would replace Forrest Claypool, who had headed the organization since Emanuel took office in 2011. Claypool would move up to serve as Emanuel’s Chief of Staff. Carter accepted the CTA gig, making him the first African-American, and highest paid Authority president in the organization’s history with an annual salary of $235,000.

Carter’s extensive experience would prove useful to Emanuel. His ties to high-level Department of Transportation officials, and experience gatekeeping grants would make it easy for Chicago to secure federal money for future projects and initiatives.

Shortly after Carter took his new position as president, two CTA-related accidents occurred, including a fatal CTA bus crash in the Loop and the derailment of the Yellow Line/Skokie Swift. Carter reformed bus training and scheduling method for highly congested areas.

Under Carter’s leadership, the CTA will move forward with massive transportation projects, including the Red-Purple Line Modernization, Blue Line O’Hare branch renovations, and the Wilson station replacement, and some controversial proposals as well, including the $750 million Belmont flyover and exploration of a long-floated O’Hare Express.

In addition to a life-long career in transportation, Carter is the Chairman of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Transit and Intermodal Law, Vice Chairman and Member of the Board for St. Anthony Hospital and member of the Board of Trustees at Carroll University.


  • Carroll University, BA
  • Howard University School of Law, JD

Important Political Events

  • 2015, Appointed to President of CTA by Mayor Rahm Emanuel
  • 2014, Appointed to the US Department of Transportation
  • 1991, Begins work at the Federal Transit Administration
  • 1984, Begins work at the Chicago Transit Authority as a Staff Attorney