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O'Hare Expansion Updates

Chicago City Council Finance Committee recommended approval of a $4 billion bond issue to help pay for the eight-year expansion project at O'Hare International Airport

March 27, 2018

Chicago City Council Finance Committee recommended approval of a $4 billion bond issue to help pay for the eight-year expansion project at O'Hare International Airport yesterday. The full council will meet Wednesday for a vote.

A key issue for Mayor Emanuel and city alderman is a guarantee local and minority construction contractors will have the opportunity to supply workers for what may mean 60,000 jobs at the $8.5 billion project.

Alderman Jason Ervin and Latino Caucus Chairman Alderman Gilbert Villegas told the mayor's chief financial officer, Carole Brown, they want the city to mentor bond transaction firms to build up more companies able to act as senior managers on huge bond deals. Alderman Leslie Hairston wants proof from the larger firms that will be involved in the project to show city officials the names of smaller minority owned companies they intend to bring onboard the build. Hairston said she would vote against the bond package if her concerns were not satisfied.

Musk on O'Hare Express Shortlist

Elon Musk's Boring Company is one of two firms the Chicago Infrastructure Trust has chosen to compete for the downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport high-speed express train project.

The city is open to either an above or below ground service which will ideally transport passengers between ORD and the Loop in 20 minutes or less, leaving every 15 minutes for most of the day. More than 20,000 people travel between the city and the airport every day, increasing to 35,000 by 2045.

The project requires stations at O'Hare and downtown and maintenance facilities. Chicago also requires that the service be funded solely by project-generated revenues, like fares or advertising, and financed entirely by the developer.

The actual mode of transport should Musk get the project hasn't been decided. Earlier, Musk floated the idea of electromagnetic pod zipping underground at 125 mph.

No cost for the project has been released but estimates run up to $3 billion. Routes being considered run northwest along the CTA Blue Line, west along the Eisenhower jogging north at Forest Park, or along freight lines.

The Boring Company and competitor O’Hare Xpress LLC (a group consisting of Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLD Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit) must respond to a request for proposals by May 18.

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