A Green Line train heads west from downtown Chicago. Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Thursday, November 30, 2017.

  • Emanuel is blaming the CTA fare hike on state funding cuts

The Chicago Transit Authority’s 25-cent fare hike is a “balanced approach to make up for the state’s failure” to fund the CTA, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Illinois cut the CTA’s budget by $33 million in its long-awaited budget, and Emanuel said he refuses to cut service to make up for it. “There will be no cuts anywhere in any services. Two, there had to be cuts to the central office. And there were enough cuts to the central office to match the fare increase, dollar-for-dollar. And third, the budget today at CTA is . . . $9.7 million less than the budget in the prior years,” Emanuel said Wednesday. It’s the CTA’s first fare hike in eight years. [Sun-Times]

  • Chicago takes another step in the O’Hare express-train journey

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s dream of an express train from downtown to O’Hare International Airport is one step closer. Emanuel is issuing a request for qualifications “for respondents to offer their credentials to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an express service through a public-private partnership with Chicago,” according to the Tribune. “Express service to and from O’Hare will give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel time, and build on Chicago’s competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade,” the mayor said in a statement. The project could cost between $1 to $3 billion. [Tribune]

  • How Rahm Emanuel benefits from Luis Gutierrez’s retirement

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the clear beneficiary of U.S. representative Luis Gutierrez’s decision to not run again and endorse Jesus “Chuy” Garcia as his replacement, according to a USA Today analysis. Cook County commissioner Garcia forced Emanuel into a runoff election in 2015, and was seriously considering another run for mayor in 2019. Garcia, a progressive ally of Senator Bernie Sanders, is “looking to shake up Capitol Hill,” according to Bloomberg. [USA Today] [Bloomberg]

  • Bulls player Nikola Mirotic publicly accepts Bobby Portis’s apology for punching him

Chicago Bulls player Nikola Mirotic has publicly accepted teammate Bobby Portis’s apology for punching him in the face. Mirotic says he’s happy to be back with the Bulls after ending up in the hospital and unable to play for several weeks because of Portis’s punch. “I’ve been playing this game nine years professionally,” Mirotic said. “I was always a good teammate, always professional with everybody. I’m going to continue to do that. If I’m here, it’s because I want to support the team. He’s a part of the team. I’m going to support him too.” [Sun-Times]

  • The BBC praises Chicago’s pedway system as a “design star”

The Loop’s underground Pedway system may not be as extensive as Toronto’s (which has 1,200 stores), but its design has impressed the BBC, which called it Chicago’s “weirdest neighbourhood.” The story explores some of the most interesting aspects of the Pedway, including its Tiffany stained-glass panels. [BBC]

  • MFK owners plan Bar Biscay in Noble Square

MFK owners Sari Zernich Worsham and Scott Worsham and Charlie Trotter’s alumnus Joe Campagna are teaming up to open Bar Biscay in the former Unite Urban Grill location in Noble Square. The French- and Spanish-influenced restaurant wants to have a “mom-and-pop” feel, according to Eater Chicago. It’s slated to open in early 2018. [Eater Chicago]